PANAMA CITY – Talks between Panama’s government and Canada’s First Quantum have yielded significant “advances” on water payments, taxes, and easements in the drafting of a new contract for the firm’s major copper mine, a senior government Minister said on Tuesday.
“I hope to resolve the remaining contention points soon,” said Federico Alfaro, Panama’s Trade and Industry chief, told Reuters at an event hosted by the Ministry.
First Quantum and Panama’s government have been locked in a prolonged contract dispute with tax and royalties at the heart of the stalemate.
The Minister did not provide a deadline to reach a deal.
Pending issues include language that would govern termination of a new contract in the event of violations, Alfaro noted.
Panama’s maritime authority last month ordered First Quantum’s local subsidiary, Minera Panama, to suspend loading operations at a major port, blocking exports from the Cobre Panama copper mine.
The company did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the status of the talks.
The government has issued an order for the mine to halt operations, but the order’s deadline has not yet elapsed.