First Quantum sets Feb. 23 as date to halt Panama operations amid dispute

Aerial view of Cobre Panama. (Screenshot from First Quantum video | YouTube.)

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals said it may halt operations in Panama on Feb. 23 as it approaches a “critical point” of copper storage capacity after the government suspended its loading permissions at a port.

The Vancouver-based company said Panama’s maritime authority halted its loading operations last month over allegations its scale was improperly calibrated.

“Our team is making all efforts to create additional storage space, but we have run out of available options,” an internal memo sent to employees Friday and seen by Reuters said, requesting the government intervene and allow First Quantum’s anchored ship to be loading copper concentrate.

The firm previously stated it may run out of capacity next week, but this is the first time the firm has given a date for halting operations.

First Quantum Chief Executive Officer Tristan Pascall said on an earnings call Wednesday the company could start shipping immediately after the government gives the green light.

A spokesperson for Panama’s maritime authority did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

(By Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Diane Craft)


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