Canada’s Minister of Commerce of Canada, Mary Ng, said that the government will support the Canadian mining company First Quantum after the closure of its project in Panama, following the ruling of unconstitutionality issued by the Supreme Court on November 28, 2023.
According to a Reuters report, the official said that First Quantum is a very important Canadian company and that she maintains constant conversations with company executives.
The copper mine, located in the mountains of the Donoso and Omar Torrijos districts, in the province of Colón, represented 40% of the Canadian mining company's income and more than 42% of its total copper production.
“I will defend Canadian companies where they operate, and First Quantum has operated in Panama for many years,” Ng said.
The official did not detail what support she will provide to the Canadian mining company that is maintaining two arbitration proceedings against Panama for the closure of the mine, which preliminarily would have produced 330,000 tons of copper concentrate in 2023, 50,000 thousand tons below what was projected.
One of the arbitrations carried out by First Quantum would be carried out under the terms agreed in the Commercial Agreement signed between Panama and Canada in May 2010.
The second would be governed by the rules of the International Court of Arbitration.
Given the closure of the Donoso mine, the Canadian company is exploring the possibility of selling some of its smaller projects, such as those located in Spain. The company is also analyzing increasing the number of shares in circulation to generate more capital.
After learning of the unconstitutionality ruling, Ng mentioned that her government respected the decisions issued by the judges, but said at that time that they would collect more data on the process.
Spokespersons for the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI), indicated that once Jorge Rivera Staff took control of the portfolio, he held meetings with his Canadian counterpart and with the Canadian ambassador, who would have expressed their respect for the sovereignty of Panama.
They assure that after that first meeting, the Canadian government has not made any additional requests or comments about the mining contract.
Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of First Quantum, reported on its social networks that cargo movement continues at the Punta Rincón port terminal.
Initially, the arrival of boats with supplies and parts that will be needed during the maintenance and care program that is being carried out was announced. This program is being executed while work begins on the definitive closure of the mining complex located in a concession of 13,000 hectares.
Residents of Donoso have indicated that in recent days a significant number of vessels have entered and left the Punta Rincón port terminal.
But now the company revealed that, in addition to receiving supplies at the port terminal, materials that could generate environmental impact have also been shipped.
Previously, the company had announced that, in addition to the 120,000 tons of copper concentrate that are stored near the port and could generate polluting gases such as hydrogen sulfide, there were also 215 tons of emulsion or supplies used in blasting in the project.
Minera Panamá reported that it has not yet received a response from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries regarding the draft closure plan that was delivered in mid-January.
The MICI said “Minera Panamá has not shipped contaminating material, all authorizations for the departure or arrival of inputs during the Preservation and Safe Management phase are governed by the respective procedures before the National Customs Authority and the Maritime Authority that are communicated to the Ministry. of Commerce and Industries”