Canadian Government respects Panama  court mine ruling

2,291Views 0Comments Posted 04/12/2023

The Canadian Government said Monday,  December 4, that it respects the decision of the Supreme Court of  Panama that declared unconstitutional the law that allows the Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals (FQM) to exploit the Cobre Panamá mine.

When asked by EFE, a spokesperson for the Canadian Ministry of International Trade said "Canada respects the announced verdict of the Supreme Court of Panama and awaits more details about the decision."

The government spokesperson also indicated that both Canada's Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, and other senior Canadian officials are in contact with Panamanian authorities.

"We are closely following the negotiations between the Government of Panama and First Quantum Minerals," he added.

FQM, which is based in Vancouver and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, has not responded to EFE's requests and has simply indicated in a statement published on November 28 that it is reviewing the court's decision.

The company has also indicated that it has initiated "an arbitration before the International Court of Arbitration to protect its rights under the 2023 concession agreement that the Government of Panama agreed to earlier this year."

Additionally, on November 14, FQM notified Panama's Ministry of Commerce and Industries of its intention to "initiate an arbitration process to enforce its rights under international law by the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement."

FQM negotiated with the Government of Panamanian President, Laurentino Cortizo, the renewal of the contract for the exploitation of the Cobre Panamá mine to its subsidiary Minera Panamá SA despite widespread protests from environmental groups, indigenous organizations, unions and other groups.

The mine, which began production in 2019, is the largest open pit mine in Central America and one of the main sources of income for the country. The protests, in which at least five people died, forced Cortizo to announce last October that he would call a referendum on the controversial contract on December 17.But before it could be carried out, the Supreme Court of Panama issued a ruling on November 28 in which it described the law approving the contract with MPSA as "unconstitutional" for violating 25 articles of the Panamanian Constitution.


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