PANAMA ( Associated Press) – Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo insisted Monday that his government seeks a “fair” deal to reactivate commercial operations at one of Latin America’s largest copper mines and the country’s important to the economy.
While presenting to the National Assembly a management report of its past six months and considering it a matter of “extreme importance” for the nation, the Panamanian leader revealed that the final text of the contract has been submitted to the Canadian First subsidiary. Quantum Minerals, weeks after the government ordered the closure of commercial activities at the mine located in the northern province of Cologne.
The government assured that the measure came after the company violated an agreement reached in early 2022, through which Panama would receive a minimum annual contribution to the activity in the order of $375 million and increased royalties in other cases.
Cortizo, whose five-year term ends in June 2024, did not give details of the final text, although he insisted that the document “establishes a proper relationship for both parties.”
“I reiterate to Panamanians that my administration will always act in defense of the national interest,” the president said amid calls from business sectors to resolve the conflict.
The government and officials of the Canadian company have made contact in recent days.
The mine is considered one of the largest investments made in any activity in Panama’s history – over $6,000 million – and creates several thousand jobs. The company started exporting concentrated copper from June 2019 and according to the company’s report, the value of exports in 2021 is expected to exceed $2.8 billion.
The government and the company began negotiations for a new operating contract in 2018 after it was declared invalid by the country’s Supreme Court, which opened the doors for mining activity and with which the concession for that project lasted until the late 90s. Went.
On the other hand, Cortizo highlighted some indicators which according to him point to a significant recovery in the economy in 2022 after the harsh impact of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the GDP growth rate would be 8.4%.