Panama Congress backs repealing First Quantum mine contract

2nd November 2023

By: Bloomberg


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Panama’s congress voted to repeal a mining contract with First Quantum Minerals on Wednesday in the second of three required votes, making a proposed referendum on extending or revoking the contract unnecessary.

The bill was voted on by article, and the provision to repeal First Quantum’s revised contract was passed in a 63-0 vote. Congress was convened to a special session on Thursday for a third, definitive vote on the bill. A final vote to repeal would threaten to send the deal extending the company’s mining license by 20 years into arbitration.

The bill also establishes an indefinite moratorium on metal mining nationwide and orders the government to reject all current and future requests for metal mining permits. It prohibits the government from renewing metal mining concessions.

Protests against the mine continued in the streets of Panama City on Wednesday night. Demonstrators blocked main highways and demanded the country’s supreme court declare the contract unconstitutional.

The supreme court has accepted for consideration six lawsuits against the mining contract. The cases claim the deal is unconstitutional for violating national sovereignty over the country’s minerals, breaking international environmental treaties that Panama has signed and failing to follow public bidding procedures.

Edited by Bloomberg


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