Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Panama ready to defend itself if a Canadian mining group resorts to arbitration

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The activities of the Canadian mining company represents approximately 4% of Panama's GDP.

Agence France-Presse

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The government of Panama assured on Sunday that it was ready to “defend” the country's interests after the Canadian mining group FQM informed it that it would resort to international arbitration if the contract concluded between them was declared unconstitutional.

Panama affirms that it has complied with all its obligations under international law and Panamanian law and is ready to defend national interests, the Panamanian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a press release published on the social network two notifications of intent to submit requests for arbitration under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Panama and Canada, in force since 2013.

This statement comes as the Supreme Court of Panama has been in permanent session since Friday to issue a decision on allegations of unconstitutionality of the contract presented in particular by environmental defenders.

On October 20, the Panamanian Congress approved this contract which allows FQM to exploit for 40 years the largest copper mine in Central America, located in the Caribbean area of ​​the country.

Since then, opponents who contest the legality of this contract and who deplore its potential repercussions on the environment have increased demonstrations and roadblocks. These actions led to commodity shortages and losses of more than $1.7 billion, according to trade organizations.

The contract, signed in August between the Panamanian government and FQM, replaced the initial concession agreement, declared unconstitutional in 2017 for not having been concluded after a public call for tenders or popular consultation.

FQM highlights that the mine generates some 50,000 jobs, contributes 5% of Panama's GDP, and that the contract provides for annual contributions to the State of #x27;at least $375 million, ten times more than the previous agreement in 1997.

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