Tuesday 7th February 2023.

February 7, 2023

Copper concentrate loading operations in the port of Punta Rincón, Donoso, have been suspended after the issuance of a resolution by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) since January 26, as a measure linked to a certification of the scales used in the Minera Panama export process, and it is not known when shipments will resume. “It is not clear when the AMP will allow us to continue loading our copper concentrate,” Alan Delaney, First Quantum’s general manager, said in an internal communication issued by the Minera Panama holding company . In this statement, the company attributes to the AMP the fact of “blocking” copper exports, taking various actions to obstruct port operations, including carrying out extraordinary and unusual inspections, “instructing maritime pilots to provide the service to ships” and issuing Resolution 007-2023, which suspends cargo operations. After the AMP issued the resolution on January 26, the company appealed the measure, but on February 2, the AMP Directorate of Ports and Industrial Maritime Industries rejected the incident, although the company can still appeal to the general administrator of the entity. In addition to First Quantum’s internal communication, Minera Panamá issued a statement on the afternoon of Monday, in which it refers to this issue under the same terms and explaining that the suspension measure for cargo operations will be in effect. concentrated in the port until it is demonstrated that the process of certification of the calibration of the scales by an accredited company has been initiated. They argue that Minera Panamá submitted the required proof of the start of the certification process by an accredited company on February 3, 2023. However, they mention that the resolution of the AMP varies from the previous process of internationally accepted certifications that Minera Panama has provided, which had been accepted up to now. “It will be to the detriment of Panama, mine workers, suppliers and the Panamanian economy in general if the Government of Panama (“the Government”) forces Minera Panama to close Cobre Panama, which may be necessary if the concentrate is not shiped in mid-February, due to limited storage capacity on site,” they specified in the statement, in which they reiterated that the AMP measures are part of a series of growing attempts by the government to put pressure on the company to accept a renewed concession contract under your conditions.

In Spain, there is new evidence that former President Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) would have laundered money with the purchase of an apartment in Madrid for $3.2 million euros ($4.4 million). This is revealed by a journalistic work published this Monday, February 6 by El Confidencial, which supports the data with a report from the Central Operative Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard carried out at the request of the National Court of Spain, within the investigations that are followed by corruption to the construction company FCC. The former president is being investigated in this case because it is presumed that behind the works awarded in his government, both to FCC and its partner, the Brazilian Odebrecht, there was payment of bribes and that part of them were later laundered in Spain and in swiss banks. Judge Ismael Moreno, of the Central Investigating Court Number 2, according to the publication, “suspects that at least part of these funds were paid by the FCC to ensure the awarding of Ciudad de la Salud and lines 1 and 2 of the Metro from Panama”. The conclusions of the investigations carried out by the Civil Guard investigative unit were recently incorporated into the summary, according to said medium. El Confidencial mentions that the Civil Guard “verified” that the company Desarrollo Inmobiliario Ibérico, SA, linked to Martinelli and his sons Ricardo Rica Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, bought a 393-square-meter apartment on the third floor of number 7 of the Calle Ruiz de Alarcón in the exclusive Madrid neighborhood of Los Jerónimos. His eldest son, Rica, would have been in charge of the negotiation and purchase of the property, as well as the subsequent remodeling of the Madrid apartment. According to the Spanish media, the “operation materialized” with the payment of 3.2 million euros housed in a Spanish Novobanco account and that hours before had been transferred from another Global Bank account in Panama. Judge Moreno requested information from Panama about the transaction and the response reached them last September.

The ambassador of Panama in Turkey, Mariel Sagel, announced that so far no Panamanians have been reported affected by the earthquake, of magnitude 7.7, which was registered this Monday in the southeast of Turkey. Sagel said this morning that there have been aftershocks and the building he was in had to be evacuated, but everyone is fine. “Since early in the morning we contacted the students and the resident Panamanians who are here, and with the Consulate, and we are all fine. I have not received reports or contact with any tourists and I would be surprised because generally people come to Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesos, but those areas have not been affected,” Sagel said in the morning.

The maritime and logistics affairs portal reported that two ships from the Iranian navy docked in Brazil at the end of January and intend to cross the Panama Canal tomorrow, February 7. “On January 28, Iranian Navy ships were allowed to dock in Brazil, despite being under US sanctions.” Iran, a theocratic Republic, dominated by Shiite religious authorities, finds itself in defiance and confrontation with the United States and the European Union for its support of international terrorism and its attempt to develop an atomic weapon. According to the publication, the Iranian warships should be crossing the Panama Canal on February 7, coming from Venezuela, a country that has been an important ally of Iran in Latin America. A spokesperson for the United States Embassy in Panama told La Prensa that: “We have seen the reports about this, and we are aware of the statements by the Iranian navy. We continue to monitor any plans for Iranian naval activities in the Western Hemisphere.” The diplomatic spokesman explained that, with reference to the concern of the United States about the Iranian vessels, “we refer them to the Government of Panama and the Panama Canal Authority for questions related to the Panama Canal.”

Malaria or paludism returns, showing that it is not a disease of the past, controlled or a trivial emergency. In Panama, malaria cases almost doubled in 2022 compared to 2021, according to the two data from the Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health (Minsa). The figures show that last year 6,288 cases were reported from January 2 to December 10, 2022, that is, 2,645 more cases than in 2021, when the figure was 3,643 cases for that same period. The scenario for this 2023 shows no signs of change, since the most recent epidemiology report details that 257 cases of malaria were registered in the first two weeks. The regions with the most cases are Guna Yala (123 cases), Darién (90) and the Ngäbe Buglé region, with 31. Faced with this situation, the Minsa will buy more detection tests through the Pan American Health Organization and the supply of medicines to treat malaria will be reinforced. This was reported by Melva Cruz, General Director of Health, who explained that it was also agreed with the regional teams to continue delivering mosquito nets with chemicals in endemic regions and will begin in the Guna Yala region.

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