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First Quantum says finalized draft concession agreement with Government of Panama

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(Kitco News) - First Quantum (TSX: FM) today announced that its Panamanian subsidiary, Minera Panama, S.A. ("MPSA"), has agreed and finalized the draft of a concession contract with the Government of Panama for the Cobre Panama mine.

The company said that the proposed concession contract meets the objectives outlined by the Government of Panama in January 2022 related to government revenues, environmental protections and labour standards, adding that it also provides legal protections necessary to both parties to ensure durability and stability.

According to a press release, the proposed concession contract is subject to a 30-day public consultation process and approvals by the Panamanian Cabinet, Comptroller General of the Republic and the National Assembly. The proposed concession contract will have an initial 20-year term, with a 20-year extension option and additional extensions for the life of mine.

The company also announced that the Panama Maritime Authority has confirmed that it will issue a resolution today for MPSA to resume concentrate loading operations at the Punta Rincon port. Ore processing is expected to resume and restore the mine to full production levels over the next several days.

CEO Tristan Pascall commented, "After a lengthy and arduous negotiation process, the finalized Proposed Concession Contract outlines the basis for the future of Cobre Panama for all stakeholders, including the Government, our investors and the country of Panama. I am pleased that we now have a pathway to continuing our ongoing substantial investments in the country.

"I wish to thank our Panamanian and international employees and their families and our suppliers for their patience and resilience during this time. We now await formal approval of the Proposed Concession Contract and look forward to a long and constructive partnership with the Government of Panama for many years to come."

Cobre Panama is First Quantum's newest operation, located in Colon Province, 120km west of Panama City. With 3.0 billion tonnes of proven and probable reserves, Cobre Panama is one of the largest new copper mines opened globally in the past decade.

Commercial production started in 2019 and at full current capacity, the plant will process 85Mtpa of ore to produce more than 300,000 tonnes of copper per year along with gold, silver and molybdenum.

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