Canada's First Quantum says no disruption to Panama ops amid dispute © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of Minera Panama owned by Canada’s First Quantum Minerals in Donoso, Panama December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Aris Martinez

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) -Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (OTC:) Ltd said on Wednesday its flagship Cobre Panama mine was running as normal and talks have resumed with the Panama government to solve a dispute over the miner’s operations.

Both First Quantum (NASDAQ:) and the government said on Wednesday that talks were underway, confirming previous Reuters reporting.

On Dec. 14, the two parties missed a deadline to come to an agreement regarding tax payments, prompting Panama to order First Quantum to halt operations at its Cobre Panama mine, which accounts for roughly 3.5% of Panama’s gross domestic product.

Last week, Panama’s commerce and industry ministry ordered First Quantum to submit a plan within 10 working days to suspend commercial operations at the mine and put it under “care and maintenance.”

First Quantum later launched arbitration proceedings against the government.

The miner said Wednesday in a statement its unit in Panama “is working through a number of steps to respond to the resolution, of which impact and timing are uncertain.”

The Panamanian government and First Quantum have been discussing a deal that would increase annual tax payments to the country to at least $375 million.

The miner paid $61 million in royalties to Panama in 2021 based on the output of the mine, according to the company’s annual report.

The Panamanian government said on Wednesday the “care and maintenance” plan for the mine remained in force and that it would monitor compliance with the process.

Shares in First Quantum were up almost 4% mid-morning.

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