A Ship’s Dilemma: Blocked Access to Panama’s Key Port

A recent incident in Panama has shed light on the ongoing protests against Canadian miner First Quantum. A ship loaded with essential supplies for First Quantum’s unit in Panama has been stranded in local waters for several days, unable to dock at the Punta Rincon port due to blockades put up by local boats. This obstruction has disrupted the delivery of supplies crucial for the operations of First Quantum’s local unit, Minera Panama.

Although the ship attempted an emergency docking on Thursday, the captain made the prudent decision to abort the attempt to avoid any potential accidents. This prompted the ship’s captain to seek assistance from the authorities, as the urgent need for supplies could not be neglected any longer. First Quantum emphasized that the ship is fully compliant with international safety regulations, and the crew members are safe.

Amidst the turmoil, Panama’s National Aeronaval Service (Senan) has identified the affected ship as the “CSL Tarantau,” specifically designed for coal transport. The ongoing protests have not only obstructed the delivery of supplies but have also led to a reduction in ore processing at First Quantum’s Cobre Panama mine. This reduction in output raises concerns about the mine’s productivity.

The mining company and the Panamanian government came to a new contract agreement on October 20 for Cobre Panama. However, this decision sparked outrage among protesters who believe that the terms of the contract heavily favor First Quantum. These demonstrators allege corrupt practices in the contract’s approval process. First Quantum vehemently denies these allegations.

As the stalemate continues, both parties must find a resolution to ensure the smooth functioning of the miner’s operations. The protests have already had an impact not only on the delivery of supplies but also on worker attendance. Agreements were recently reached between the Minera Panama union and the company to ensure worker pay amidst the ongoing unrest.

The situation highlights the delicate balance between mining operations, local communities, and government interests. Finding a sustainable solution that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders is crucial for maintaining stable and productive operations.


Q: What caused the ship to be unable to dock at the Punta Rincon port?
A: Local boats blocked off access to the port, preventing the ship from docking.

Q: What impact did the protests have on First Quantum’s operations?
A: The protests led to a reduction in ore processing at First Quantum’s Cobre Panama mine.

Q: What is the main concern regarding the new contract for Cobre Panama?
A: Protesters believe that the new contract terms heavily favor First Quantum and allege corrupt practices in its approval.

Q: Has First Quantum addressed the allegations of corrupt practices?
A: Yes, the company has denied the allegations made against them.