Panama’s Supreme court has ruled the mining contract for First Quantum Minerals is unconstitutional.
The contract, approved on October 20 2023, gave First Quantum mining rights for 20 years, with an option to extend for another 20 years, for US$375 million in annual revenue to Panama.
The contract was contested from the start, facing numerous legal challenges, over claims of corruption and preferential terms for the mine.
The Supreme Court’s nine judges have now revoked the contract, and First Quantum has reportedly already notified the Panama government it intends to start international arbitration.
“First Quantum wishes to reiterate its willingness to open new forums of dialogue to address the concerns of diverse sectors of society, in order to create lasting relationships based on respect, cordiality, understanding, and mutual benefit. The Company continues to reserve all its local and international legal rights in regards to developments in Panama” — First Quantum Provides Update on Cobre Panama Operations
The Cobre mine contributes 5% to Panama’s GDP and 1% to global copper production.
The latest challenge to copper supply comes as the global supply of copper, essential for a host of industries and crucial to green technology and the global energy transition, is expected to face a supply gap of nearly 10 million mt within the next ten years, according to our new report: