The world’s largest new copper mine, located on Panama’s Atlantic Coast, has officially started producing ore, in a move that will provide yet another boost to the country’s economy.
The Cobre Panama mine will join the Panama Canal as a steady economic producer for Panama, providing a foundation for the economic growth forecast by international analysts. Canadian-based First Quantum has invested $10 billion into the project, creating a major new industry for Panama, according to media reports.
“For Panama, it’s the biggest investment ever outside the canal and makes the Central American country a key supplier” to the copper market, Bloomberg reports.
First Quantum expects the mine to produce 150,000 tons of ore this year and as much as 350,000 tons in 2021. It will also turn First Quantum into “a top copper producer alongside giants like Freeport-McMoRan Inc. and BHP Group.”
The deposits were first discovered in 1968, but it’s taken 50 years of stops and starts – and a massive investment in infrastructure – to get to this point. That infrastructure includes a deepwater port, “where mining trucks the size of a suburban house can roll in fully assembled off ships.” Bloomberg notes. The company also built a road connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, a clear indication of how the business is already impacting the country.
The mining operation will send ripples through the entire economy, including the property business. The mining operations will bring thousands of employees to Panama, as well as ancillary businesses that will set up their own local operations. That translates into a steady stream of renters and buyers.
We’ve already seen the impact from the mine, especially through our property management division, which deals directly with several multinational conglomerates in Panama City.
The mine is a modern, high-tech operation. The huge trucks used to haul rock uphill, which normally consume 400 liters an hour of diesel, will instead operate as “an electric trolley system like an urban streetcar,” consuming only 40 liters an hour at double the speed, Bloomberg says.