(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (“First Quantum” or “the Company”) (TSX: FM) today issued the following update regarding the status of the Cobre Panamá mine operated by its subsidiary Minera Panamá, S.A. (“MPSA”).
Formal discussions between First Quantum, MPSA and the Government of Panamá (“the Government”) resumed on December 26, 2022 regarding the long-term future of the Cobre Panamá mine. The talks continued on December 27 and are ongoing. The Company remains committed to seeking a mutually beneficial agreement as soon as possible.
“We appreciate the Government of Panamá’s constructive engagement this week. The preferred option for both sides is to achieve a balanced agreement that will benefit all parties for many years to come. We have ambitious plans for Cobre Panamá and strongly believe that an agreement would pave the way for additional investment in Panamá and its people,” commented Tristan Pascall, Chief Executive Officer.
Operations at Cobre Panamá continue as normal at this time with no disruption to production. MPSA received formal notification from the National Directorate of Mineral Resources of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (“MICI”) on December 21, 2022 of a resolution requiring MPSA to submit a plan within 10 working days of such notification to suspend commercial operations at Cobre Panamá and put the mine under “care and maintenance.” MPSA is working through a number of steps to respond to the resolution, of which impact and timing are uncertain, and in order to address the complex practicalities of reducing operations of the size and scale of Cobre Panamá.
First Quantum continues to do everything possible to support the Cobre Panamá workforce and protect its investment in the mine. As the Company has advised the Government of Panamá, MPSA has initiated precautionary legal measures in the Panamanian courts and through arbitration under the existing Concession Contract. First Quantum has also notified the Government of its intent to initiate international arbitration under the Canada-Panamá Free Trade Agreement.