Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals has suspended commercial production at its flagship Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama after the country’s Supreme Court ruled its contract as unconstitutional, reported Reuters.
President Laurentino Cortizo said in a televised address that “the orderly and safe closure of the mine” would begin as soon as the ruling was formerly published in the official gazette.
The contested contract gave First Quantum a 20-year mining right with an option to extend for another 20 years in return for $375 million in annual revenue to Panama.
First Quantum acknowledged the ruling and affirmed its “unwavering commitment to regulatory compliance in all aspects of our operations within the country.” The miner added it was putting the open-pit mine into care and maintenance.
Cobre Panama, located 120 kilometers west of Panama City, accounts for about 1% of global copper production and contributes to about 5% of Panama’s gross domestic product.