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Sep 25, 2018

First Quantum studies Panama ruling on legal approval of project

First Quantum Minerals

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Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals Ltd. is examining a ruling by Panama’s Supreme Court and its potential impact on a major copper mine it’s developing in the central American country.

Local media in Panama reported that the court ruled on Monday that Law 9, which was used to approve a mining concession contract between the state and Minera Petaquilla in February 1997, was unconstitutional. The court indicated in its decision that Panama’s National Assembly accepted a contract that didn’t follow the correct legal process and therefore contravened the constitution, La Prensa reported on its website.

The concession rights for the Cobre Panama project were obtained in 1997 under Law 9 by Minera Petaquilla, now known as Minera Panama SA, according to First Quantum filings. Minera Panama is majority-owned by Vancouver-based First Quantum.

“Minera Panama, a subsidiary of the company, understands that 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,” First Quantum said Tuesday in 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.

First Quantum’s shares fell after the announcement and were trading down 1.6 per cent at $15.70 as of 12:50 p.m. in Toronto.