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Panama: Supreme Court rules law used to grant mining contract to First Quantum Minerals' subsidiary unconstitutional

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Auteur: France 24

A ruling this week by Panama's Supreme Court has left a $6.3 billion copper and gold exploration project by Canada's First Quantum Minerals in limbo after it was deemed unconstitutional...Environmental defense non-governmental organization CIAM... contested a contract signed between the government and Canadian company Minera Petaquilla [in 2009]. CIAM claimed the deal was damaging to the state and its natural resources, saying it would result in the erosion of soil and vegetation, as well as the contamination of water and air. Minera Petaquilla traded the project to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of First Quantum, and it is that contract the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional... "This ruling is hugely important for Panama," [said] Sonia Montenegro, executive director at... CIAM.

...Labor and Development Minister Luis Ernesto Carles said exploration would continue. "We're not worried -- we're very clear that the contract is valid," Carles told Telemetro television channel... Minera Panama, the First Quantum subsidiary, insists their investment is "the biggest in the history" of the country and would help add 4.0 percent to Panama's gross domestic product as soon as next year.

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Article
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Auteur: Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg

Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. headed for a one-week low after a ruling by Panama's Supreme Court cast uncertainty over a major copper mine it's developing in the central American country... the court ruled on Monday that Law 9 -- used to approve a mining concession contract between the state and Minera Petaquilla in February 1997 -- was unconstitutional... First Quantum said "the Supreme Court ruling only affects the enactment of Law 9, and does not affect the mining concession contract itself, which remains in effect, and therefore allows continuity of development of the Cobre Panama project," according to a statement... The company is in the process of obtaining and examining the ruling, and “is working with the appropriate parties to identify suitable legal remedies,” First Quantum said... La Prensa, one of Panama’s major newspapers, reported that the court indicated in its decision that country’s National Assembly accepted a contract that didn’t follow the correct legal process and therefore contravened the constitution. 

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