First Quantum Minerals, Minera Panama renew copper mining concession

Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals and Minera Panama, its Panamanian subsidiary, have successfully negotiated with the Panamanian government to renew the mining concession agreement for the Cobre Panama Project.

Posted mercredi, mai 3 2023
First Quantum Minerals, Minera Panama renew copper mining concession

The new concession for the copper mine in Panama was achieved after a two-year, complex negotiation process, during which the parties agreed on the final terms and conditions for a Draft Refreshed Contract.

“The finalization of the terms and conditions of the Draft Refreshed Contract is of utmost importance for FQM and the Republic of Panama. The Cobre Panama Project, one of the 10 biggest open-pit copper mines in the world, is the result of a $10-billion private investment, the largest in the history of Panama,” Panamanian law firm Morgan & Morgan, which acted as local counsel to First Quantum Minerals and Minera Panama, said.

“The project has a significant economic impact, accounting for approximately 4.8% of Panama’s gross domestic product, and for more than 40,000 direct and indirect jobs,” the law firm added.

The law firm’s team was led by partner
Inocencio Galindo.

Given its scope, this has been a highly complex matter that involved many commercial and legal issues, including mining, public contracting, administrative, environmental, labor, property, tax and contract law, as well as dispute resolution and arbitration—as two international arbitration processes were also activated during negotiations,” Galindo said of the negotiations and agreement.

According to the joint press release issued by the Government of Panama and FQM, the draft contract meets the objectives outlined by the government in January 2022, related to government revenues, environmental protections, and labor standards, while also providing legal protections necessary to both parties to ensure the durability and stability of the Cobre Panama Project.

The contract will now be subject to a 30-day public consultation process and, thereafter, shall be signed by the parties after it receives the approval of the Panamanian Cabinet Council, after which the Comptroller General of the Republic must review and countersign. Finally, the contract will be presented before the National Assembly of Panama for the issuance of a law approving the contract.

Galindo was assisted by partners Aristides Anguizola and Ramón Varela.

Founding Partner Juan David Morgan G. also participated in the negotiation process. 

Partners José Carrizo, Luis Vallarino, Omar Rodríguez, and Mayte Sánchez, from the firm’s litigation practice, and José Rafael Reyes, from the tax practice, also served as counsel in connection to legal matters concerned with such practice areas.

Additionally, associates Orlando Tejeira, Alejandro Vásquez, Alejandro Chevalier and Joy Torres, provided their support in relation to the foregoing.  

Law firm Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee, acted as Panamanian co-counsel for FQM and MPSA in the negotiations, with a team led by founding partner Aníbal Galindo, who was assisted by partners Jorge Lee, who managed labor aspects, and Raul Borrell, who assisted in contract matters.