Friday 16th December 2022.

December 16, 2022

The President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , announced yesterday evening, that Minera Panamá will suspend copper extraction operations in the Donoso region (Colón) and that the best options will be sought to guarantee the sustained operation of the mine. In an announcement to the country, Cortizo reported that after the extraordinary Cabinet Council was held, the Minister of Commerce and Industry was instructed to order Minera Panamá SA to suspend operations at the Cobre Panamá project, arguing that the company did not comply with the commitments agreed in January 2022 to achieve a “reasonable and satisfactory” contract for the country. In addition, that the MICI must take administrative measures in accordance with the Mineral Resources Code, with the purpose of ordering Minera Panamá, SA, to establish and execute a preservation and safe management plan (care and maintenance), that is, Cessation of operations in the Cobre Panama project. Likewise, it was approved that the Ministry of the Environment adopt measures to supervise, control and supervise compliance with environmental provisions in the mining project. In addition, Resolution 144-22 of the Cabinet Council instructs the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development to supervise compliance with the provisions applicable to the employment relationship between project workers and the company.”The Government will seek the best options to guarantee the sustained operation of the mine through a contract that establishes fair benefits for the parties,” Cortizo said in his message. The president recalled that an agreement satisfactory to the parties had been reached last January and that this would represent the payment to the country of a minimum of $375 million a year, better working conditions for workers, better environmental protections and programs to benefit the communities near the mine impact zone. In addition, it had been planned to allocate the income from this mining activity to reinforce social programs.“Almost a year later we see that Minera Panamá has not fulfilled the commitments agreed in January 2022; That is not acceptable for me as president, neither for  the Government nor for the Panamanian people,” said Cortizo. The president’s announcement comes after the Minera Panamá company “did not agree to sign the contract” proposed by the Panamanian government, which reflected the agreement announced to the country last January. A month ago, Cortizo had given the company an ultimatum: they had until Wednesday, December 14, to formalize the contract. But that day came and the mining company – a subsidiary of the Canadian First Quantum – failed to comply. In the morning hours of Thursday, the Executive confirmed that an agreement was not reached for the signing of the contract with the company, since a proposal had been presented that changed economic aspects.Next, First Quantum released its version, as did the ministry: via statement. They stated that the “package” agreed in January would have turned Cobre Panama “into one of the highest payers of royalties and taxes, in relation to other  copper-producing mines in the Americas.” “Minera Panama believes that its proposal achieves the revenue objectives of the Government of Panama and provides the necessary conditions to ensure the long-term future of the mine. However, the necessary legal protections on termination, stability and transition arrangements could not be agreed,” it was highlighted. The Resolution of the Cabinet Council will enter into force once it is promulgated in the Official Gazette.

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) delivered contributions to the State, for surpluses, rights per ton of transit and payment for services, in the amount of $2,494.4 million It was the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , who was responsible for receiving the symbolic check from the Minister for Canal Affairs, Aristides Royo, and the Canal administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez. According to the minister, this amount is the highest delivered to date. “This is a good contribution for the State that shows that the Panama Canal continues to be a public company that produces benefits that the State uses for the greatest possible collective benefit,” said Royo. He explained that what is called surpluses are the profits of the entity and that these are “directed for the benefit of the people through the Executive Branch.” Regarding the passage of ships, during fiscal year 2022, 14,132 transits were registered, that is, 894 transits. He indicated that this is 6.3% above those of fiscal year 2021 and 864 transits; 6.1% above those registered in fiscal year 2020. He argued that among the main trade routes of the Canal by tonnage, in fiscal year 2022, the following stand out: the east coast of the United States – Asia, followed by the east coast of the United States – the west coast of South America, the west coast from South America – Europe.

An outbreak of fire in one of the machinery tunnels in the upper chamber of the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal was recorded this Thursday. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reported that no injured workers were reported. They proceeded to temporarily suspend the transit of ships through these locks. “The Canal firefighters are worked to address the situation. The rest of the locks continued to work normally,” the entity reported.

The Comptroller General of the Republic reported that the third quarter of this year closed with an increase compared to the same period in 2021. According to the report, the performance of the Panamanian economy was 9.5%. In figures, the quarterly GDP registered an amount of $11,317.7 million for the estimated period, which corresponded to an increase of $980.0 million. “The pandemic affected the economy for a long period due to the mobility restrictions of the population; coupled with external factors such as the increase in the price of fuel, which led to protests in the country at the beginning of the quarter. Despite the effects, economic activities during the quarter continued their recovery process,” said Controller Gerardo Solís.

In the first 10 months of the year, nearly 269 million passengers were transported in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the accumulated, the region is 10.6% below the indicators of 2019 when 300.9 million people traveled. “Despite the impact of lower economic growth, high inflation rates, high aviation fuel costs, in addition to the devaluation of Latin American currencies, the rate of recovery of aviation in the region continues,” indicates the Association’s report. of Air Transport of Latin America and the Caribbean (ALTA). The report indicates that 27.5 million passengers were transported by air last October, which is equivalent to 92% of the passenger flow that existed in October 2019 before the covid19 health crisis. Among the countries with the highest passenger traffic are Mexico and Colombia with 107% and 110% of the movement compared to October 2019. In Central America, Guatemala registers 96% of the traffic that was before the health crisis, Panama 93%, Costa Rica it is at 74%, Honduras 89%, El Salvador 69%, Nicaragua 67% and Belize with barely 40% of the traffic. The Tocumen International Airport reported between January and November the figure of 14 million 330 thousand 595 passengers transported, an increase of 79.87% compared to the accumulated to November 2021, when 7 million 967 thousand 142 passengers were transported. However, the country is still below the 15 million 142 thousand 937 passengers that mobilized in the same period of 2019 when air operations were at 100%. The main air terminal in the country registered a movement of one million 364 thousand 188 people at the end of November The figure for November represents an increase of 1.83% compared to November 2019 when one million 344 thousand 009 passengers were mobilized, and an increase of 25.18% in contrast to the same month of 2021.

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