Panama’s government hasn’t provided a legal basis to First Quantum Minerals Ltd. for pursuing a closure plan for its giant copper mine in the country, according to the metals producer.

First Quantum has been unable to formally engage with the Central American government to clarify the legal situation and associated environmental obligations for its Cobre Panama mine, the Vancouver-based company said Friday in a statement.

First Quantum’s statement comes two days after Panama’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries said it was pursuing a closure plan that will take several months to develop, according to the company. That plan will include a temporary phase of environmental preservation and safe management, conducting audits and formation of a multidisciplinary expert panel, the statement said. The closure plan is expected to be presented in June 2024.

Panama’s decision to close the massive mine in the wake of countrywide protests has sent shock waves through the mining industry and helped wipe out more than half of First Quantum’s market value. The company’s stock rose 5.7 per cent to $11.23 at 2:47 p.m. in Toronto.