The move comes in response to the suspension of cargo operations at the international port of Punta Rincón in the eastern province of Colon, amid negotiations with the government to sign a concession agreement, according to a statement from the subsidiary of Canadian transnational First Quantum.
In the release, the mining company’s general manager, Alan Delaney, claimed that additional efforts are being made to find space for the mineral as it nears reaching the critical point of maximum storage capacity.
On February 13, Cobre Panamá submitted its latest report to the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to show that the process of certifying the calibration of the scales by an accredited company has been initiated, but still without a response, this text indicates .
For Delaney, this is critical because if the government issues the appropriate approval, they could resume shipping the concentrate in a matter of hours, avoiding a damaging situation for the company, but also for the entire country.
We remain committed to maintaining the good faith dialogue with the Executive on the future of the project and we are making every possible effort to mitigate and avoid negative impacts on our strategic allies, he commented.
He also recalled that the mine installed in the town of Donoso, Colón, contributes about 5.0 percent to the isthmus’ gross domestic product (GDP) and also accounts for 75 percent of the export of goods, creating around 40,000 jobs.
However, the AMP explained in its opinion that the indication of the cessation of port operations is in line with the purpose of enforcing the international agreements signed by the Central American country, the purpose of which is to protect human life at sea and prevent pollution disasters in territorial waters.
According to AMP, the order follows two findings in 2017 and 2020 when the company failed to demonstrate calibration of the weights and scales used to measure the cargo used to transport minerals.
On January 24, residents of the Punta Rincón International Port denounced illegal exports by the company.
Residents of the area posted photos of a ship at dock as it received the cargo on social media, a fact they describe as “plundering the heritage of all Panamanians.”
The environmentalist Raisa Banfield sued the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, for the mining company to intervene because it violated the order issued in December last year to stop commercial operations.
For their part, spokespersons for social organizations have labeled as impermissible any negotiations the executive branch is conducting with the mining company, whose concession agreement was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2017.