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Thousands of Cobre Panamá workers join First Quantum’s voluntary retirement scheme

On Saturday, close to 2,500 workers joined Minera Panamá’s special voluntary retirement scheme announced on December 4, following the order received by parent company First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM) to end mining operations at the Cobre Panamá copper mine as its contract was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The event took place at a mall in Panama City and was supported by representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Workforce Development (Mitradel), who provided information and verified that the process complied with the law.

The Workers Union of Minera Panamá also joined the event, after agreeing with the company on the terms of the voluntary retirement scheme for those workers who decide to join. The program involves the payment of all benefits established by law such as accrued vacations, accrued thirteenth month, seniority premium and 100% of the compensation calculated per Article 225 of the Labour Code.

“Until there is a roadmap clearly established by the government, it will not be possible to determine how many employees will finally be able to continue working at the company to carry out environmental stabilization measures and maintain the integrity of (non-operational) assets, a key factor to prevent future environmental disasters,” Minera Panamá said in a media statement.

According to the company, the Cobre Panamá operation created over 7,000 direct and 33,000 indirect jobs.

In production since 2019, the mine accounted for about 5% of Panama’s gross domestic product and made up 75% of its exports of goods.

Cobre Panamá generated 112,734 tonnes of copper in the third quarter of 2023, contributing $930 million to First Quantum’s overall third-quarter revenue of $2.02 billion.

In light of the recent developments, the Canadian miner has asked the Miami-based International Court of Arbitration to protect its rights under the 2023 concession agreement that the government of Panama agreed to earlier this year, as well as the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More