New Protests Halt Production at First Quantum Minerals’ Panama Mine

Recent protests opposing the government’s contract with one of the world’s largest copper mines have resulted in maintenance and a temporary suspension of production at Canada’s First Quantum Minerals’ Cobre Panama mine. The protestors, blocking coal supplies necessary for the mine’s operation, have forced the company to carry out necessary maintenance work from November 23 until the supply issue is resolved. Without power, the mine cannot continue production effectively. The protests have escalated since the government and First Quantum signed a new contract for Cobre Panama on October 20, which contributes significantly to global copper production and Panama’s gross domestic product.

Efforts to restore the supply chain have been hampered as local boats blocked access to the key port, preventing a ship with supplies from docking. First Quantum Minerals expects production to resume as soon as the port reopens, with the company stating that the production halt is temporary and caused by the illegal blockade. Currently, the focus is on maintaining the tailings pond, which requires 24/7 oversight and care. Tailings ponds are created to store waste generated from mining activities.

The contract awarded to First Quantum will be evaluated for legality by Panama’s top court, with the hearing scheduled to begin on November 24. The uncertainty surrounding the contract and the protests have impacted the company’s stock, with a 48% drop in just 16 trading days since the announcement of a referendum to determine its future. This significant decline has resulted in the loss of approximately C$9.38 billion ($6.8 billion) from the company’s market value.


1. Why are protestors blocking coal supplies to the Cobre Panama mine?

Protestors are opposing the government’s contract with First Quantum Minerals, which operates the mine. They have blocked coal supplies to halt the mine’s production.

2. What is the impact of the protests on the Cobre Panama mine?

The protests have led to maintenance work and a temporary suspension of production at the mine. Without coal supplies, the mine cannot operate effectively.

3. When will production at the Cobre Panama mine resume?

Production is expected to resume once the coal supplies become available again. The company is waiting for the reopening of the port to restart production.

4. What is the role of the tailings pond in the maintenance process?

The focus during the maintenance period is to maintain the tailings pond, which is responsible for storing the waste generated from mining activities. Proper maintenance of the pond is crucial to ensure environmental compliance and sustainability.

5. How has the stock market responded to the protests and contract uncertainty?

First Quantum Minerals’ stock has experienced a significant decline of approximately 48% in just 16 trading days following the announcement of a referendum to determine the future of the contract. The protests and uncertainty surrounding the contract have negatively impacted the company’s market value.