A nation loses its patience
Controversial mining contract in Panama triggers mass protests across the country
In recent months, Panama has been involved in a controversial debate about a controversial mining contract with far-reaching implications. The contract, which was approved by the Panamanian Congress on October 20, grants Minería Panama, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals from Canada, the right to operate the largest open pit copper mine in Central America for a period of 20 years. This mine covers approximately 12,000 hectares in Donoso, Colón province. The agreement promises significant economic benefits for Panama and ensures that at least USD 375 million in license fees will be paid annually. President Laurentino Cortizo emphasized at the approval of the contract on 24 October: 'We have made the right decision, not the easiest one. Nevertheless, nationwide protests broke out, reflecting public dissatisfaction with both the agreement itself and current government policy.