First Quantum resumes operations at Panama copper mine

The Cobre Panama mine is located in Colon province, 120 km west of Panama City. Credit: First Quantum Minerals Ltd.

First Quantum Minerals, the operator of the Cobre Panama mine, has resumed operations to normal levels at the mine, gold-focused royalty and streaming company Franco-Nevada Corp said on Wednesday.

Franco-Nevada has contributed a total of $1.36 billion to the construction of Cobre Panama and the mine accounted for 18% of the company’s revenue in 2021. Copper miner First Quantum owns a 90% interest in the mine through its unit Minera Panama SA (MPSA).

First Quantum had suspended ore processing operations at the mine on Feb. 23 after a Panama government order halted its loading permissions at the port, limiting its capacity to store copper.

Last week, the government and the miner agreed on the final text for a contract to operate the key copper mine.

The new contract guarantees a minimum annual income of $375 million to the Central American government, and will be effective for 20 years with the option to renew it for 20 more.

On Tuesday, Panama’s Maritime Authority lifted the suspension on First Quantum Minerals’ operations at the port of Punta Rincon, which the Canadian company uses to export copper concentrate from the Cobre Panama mine.

(By Ankit Kumar; Editing by Maju Samuel and Devika Syamnath)

Related: Panama gives First Quantum go-ahead to operate port terminal


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