First Quantum suspends ore processing at Cobre Panama as dispute escalates

TORONTO — First Quantum Minerals Ltd. has suspended ore processing operations at its Cobre Panama mine.

The stoppage is the latest escalation in its dispute with the Panamanian government over tax and royalty payments.

The Toronto-based company says the interruption is due to Panamá Maritime Authority’s refusal to permit copper concentrate loading operations at the mine’s port.

First Quantum says it will begin a partial demobilization of its workforce of over 8,000 employees and contractors due to the stoppage.

The government in Panama ordered the suspension of work at the mine in December after the two sides failed to reach a new profit-sharing agreement.

First Quantum says negotiations with the government on a new contract are continuing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.

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The Canadian Press