The Panamanian Government has reportedly modified a mining contract with Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals (FQM), a Canadian mining company that operates the largest open-pit copper mine in Central America. These modifications were made after the Panamanian Parliament suspended the discussion of a draft contract (law) and returned it to Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo for revision.
Among the reported changes is the elimination of land expropriation clauses and the condition that allowed Minera Panama to restrict airspace above its lease.
The modifications also include a clause reaffirming that nothing in the agreement restricts or limits Panama’s sovereignty over its territory.
As far as the scope of the concession to Minera Panamá, a modification clarified that the company may only explore, extract, and exploit copper and its associated minerals in the permitted exploitation area in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos in the province of Colón (Caribbean).
During March, FQM finalized a 20-year extendable concession contract with Panama for the future development of the Cobre Panama mine, which has been exporting copper since 2019.
The agreement establishes minimum annual revenues of $375 million. This is 10 times more than the previous agreement, which was declared unconstitutional by the Panamanian Supreme Court. The agreement also reinstates broad powers in favor of the state to supervise the entire operation, among other modifications.