Panama to hold referendum on First Quantum mine

After days of protests, Panama President Laurentino Cortizo said the country would hold a referendum to decide whether to scrap a contract with First Quantum’s local subsidiary Minera Panama, reported Reuters.

The vote will take place December 17 and its result will be binding. 

The news agency said Panama’s government and Minera Panama agreed on a contract which would guarantee the country an annual income of US$375 million while allowing the miner to operate the Cobre Panama copper mine for at least 20 years.

Protesters have criticized both the deal and the mine’s environmental costs, even after Cortizo issued a decree rejecting all new mining projects.

Located 120 kilometers west of Panama City, Cobre Panama’s activity accounts for nearly 5% of the country’s economy. The open-pit mine started commercial production in 2019.

Source: Reuters

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