Canada's First Quantum says no disruption to Panama ops amid dispute

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Dec 28 (Reuters) - Canada's First Quantum Minerals Ltd (FM.TO) said on Wednesday its flagship Cobre Panama copper mine was currently running as normal and formal talks have resumed with the Panama government to solve a dispute over the miner's operations.

The company also said its unit Minera Panama S.A. (MPSA) was informed on Dec. 21 of a resolution requiring it to submit a plan within 10 working days of such notification to suspend commercial operations at Cobre Panama and put the mine under "care and maintenance".

"MPSA is working through a number of steps to respond to the resolution, of which impact and timing are uncertain, and in order to address the complex practicalities of reducing operations of the size and scale of Cobre Panama," the miner said in a statement.

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.

On Dec. 14, the parties missed the government's deadline to seal the agreement, prompting Panama to order First Quantum to halt operations at the mine.

Days later, the firm launched arbitration proceedings against the government.

Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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