PANAMA CITY, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Panama’s government is in talks with Canada-based miner First Quantum Minerals ( FM.TO ) over the terms on which it operates its flagship copper mine, the government’s chief minister said on Friday. income Publio De Gracia. .
The official from the country’s economy and finance ministry said Panama was seeking a “fair” deal in which the company meets the obligations required by its large operations.
“These activities are receiving important benefits and it is right that they respect the obligations”, he said.
Panama’s government on Monday ordered First Quantum to halt operations at the Cobre Panama mine after the company missed a deadline to finalize a deal that would increase annual tax and royalty payments to the government to at least $375 million.
A key asset for both sides, Cobre Panama accounts for roughly 3.5% of the country’s gross domestic product according to government figures, and according to one financial analyst generates about half of First Quantum’s core revenue.
Canada’s trade minister has been in contact with her counterpart in Panama in an effort to resolve the dispute, a Canadian government source said Friday.
“Obviously, we have a great interest in seeing a solution to this and we are optimistic that both sides are negotiating in good faith,” said the source, who is familiar with the discussions.
Reporting by Valentine Hilaire in Panama City and Steve Scherer in Ottawa Editing by Alistair Bell
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