Copper Mine Causes Economic Contraction in Panama Region
The Cobre Panama mine, that First Quantum bought from the Canadian Inmet company, is causing damage to the province of Coclé instead of benefits according to residents of the area last week that include its governor, Juan Carlos Rodriguez.
The restructuring of the project in the Coclé area by the new owner is causing uncertainty among the population, who have seen a decline in commerce and a series of lay-offs since First Quantum began to cut costs.
Rodriguez said that the mining company has decided not to execute on programmed civil works such as some road building works that that were originally a commitment made by the mining project to the area, with a view to improving its dividends.
According to Coclé residents, the cuts amount to $1Bn of the original $6Bn budget estimated by Inmet which implies a reduction in employment and a drop in local income levels.
The newspaper Panamá América said that a source close to the company reports that 60% of direct employees at the company have been laid off, which means that from an original near 2,000 staff 1,200 have lost their jobs, along with another 450 third party contractors.
Some of the companies that had contracts with the mining company that were cancelled include JV Panamá, Meco, Santa Fe, Cusa and GPP, amongst others.
For this current stage, it was estimated that 10,000 people would be employed at the project but that has not turned out to be the case and the resulting unemployment has had repercussions in the province, which had created a service infrastructure of hotels, hostals and rented houses due to the mine which all now run the risk of bankruptcy.