First Quantum’s Copper Mining Horror in Panama After Supreme Court Grants Protesters Request to Shutdown the Mine


Panama has been the scene of intense protests and violence sparked by widespread outrage against a Canadian mining company’s operations in the country, as reported by CTV Television Station in Canada. The controversy centered on the Cobra mine, owned by First Quantum Minerals, a Canadian firm, which became the target of Panamanian protestors due to allegations of environmental damage, corruption, and unfulfilled promises.

The conflict escalated as the Panamanian government extended First Quantum’s mining contract for an additional 20 years, igniting further public fury. Demonstrations led by a diverse coalition, including environmentalists, indigenous leaders, and students, paralyzed the country, causing significant economic disruption and drawing international attention.

As the situation deteriorated, violent clashes between protestors and police became commonplace, with the latter employing tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators. The standoff culminated in a landmark decision by the Panamanian Supreme Court, which ruled the mining contract unconstitutional and led to the government announcing the mine’s closure.

This victory for protestors, however, raises questions about the future of the mine’s employees and the environmental implications of abruptly halting operations. The report sheds light on the broader issues of foreign investment, resource exploitation, and the need for a balanced approach to economic development and environmental protection.

First Quantum Minerals has a global footprint with operations and projects in several countries and these include:

  • Zambia: One of First Quantum’s most significant operations is in Zambia, where it operates the Kansanshi copper-gold mine, the largest copper mine in Africa, and the Sentinel copper mine. Zambia is a crucial location for First Quantum, contributing a significant portion of its copper production.
  • Mauritania: In Mauritania, First Quantum operates the Guelb Moghrein copper-gold mine. This mine is significant for both copper and by-product gold production.
  • Finland: The company operates the Pyhäsalmi copper-zinc mine in Finland, one of the oldest mines in the country, though its operations were nearing the end of their expected life span as of the last update.
  • Australia: First Quantum has the Ravensthorpe nickel-cobalt mine in Western Australia, which has had a history of operational challenges but remains an important part of their portfolio.
  • Turkey: The Çayeli mine in Turkey is another base for First Quantum’s operations, primarily producing copper and zinc.
  • Peru: First Quantum is developing the Haquira copper project in Peru, expected to be a significant copper production site once operational.


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