First Quantum shares continue to slide after Panama promises referendum

VANCOUVER — Shares in First Quantum Minerals Ltd. continued to slide Tuesday as uncertainty clouds the fate of its Cobre Panama mine.

Over the weekend, Panama’s government promised to hold a referendum on whether a deal with First Quantum over the mine should be scrapped.

Citizens in Panama have been protesting the long-term mining concession with First Quantum’s local subsidiary for more than a week. The scale and scope of the deal have raised both nationalist anger and environmental concerns.

In a statement Tuesday, First Quantum says it has contacted the government in order to understand the details of the referendum.

First Quantum says it’s proud to be a significant contributor to the Panamanian economy, noting its Cobre Panama mine contributes almost five per cent of the country’s GDP.

The miner's stock price closed lower by $3.93 or 19.65 per cent on Tuesday at $16.07 on the TSX, after losing more than a quarter of their value on Monday.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.

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The Canadian Press