Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals has placed its Cobre Panama operation into care and maintenance, after the Healthy Ministry of Panama (Minsa) this week ordered the temporary suspension of labour activities at the site.
The order follows the death of a worker as a result of Covid-19-related complications. Minsa confirmed in a tweet at the weekend that an employee of Minera Panama – First Quantum’s subsidiary – died on Saturday.
The mining company said on March 24 that several of the contractor workforce at Cobre Panama had contracted the virus.
The mine would remain on care and maintenance until Minsa was satisfied that quarantine conditions were appropriate, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
The heightened quarantine conditions require that mining and processing operations be halted. It is expected that the port and power plant would continue operations in order to supply essential electrical power into the Panama national grid, and to sustain the care-and-maintenance activities.
Cobre Panama is evaluating the reduction of all operating costs on the site for the expected duration of increased quarantine, including access to emergency labour code concessions for suspension of contracts.
First Quantum said the temporary idling of the mine would cost between $4-million and $6-million a week, assuming suspension of labour contracts and hard turn down of other variable and fixed costs.
Cobre Panama has donated 60 containerised health clinic modules to Minsa for use as health posts and community quarantine facilities, both in the region and nationally, to assist the protection of those most vulnerable in its surrounding communities.
The mine is also donating medical supplies, such as ventilators.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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