First Quantum Minerals has announced that it will soon be able to resume operations at its Cobre Panama mine after health officials gave it the green light to resume production, according to a statement from the mining company.
“First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (“FQM” or the “Company”) announces that Cobre Panama can resume full production. The Company has received notice of Resolution No. 1651, dated July 03, 2020, issued by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Panama (“MINSA”) lifting the temporary suspensions at its Panamanian subsidiary, Minera Panama, S.A. Cobre Panama has been in Preservation and Safe Maintenance mode since April 6, 2020”, according to a press release issued by Sponsoring Broker, Pangaea Securities, on behalf of the Mining company on 8 July 2020.
With the go-ahead in place, the Mining company is remaining cautious on how it ramps up production to ensure the safety of its employees. “The Company will implement a reopening plan which provides for a phased increase of onsite personnel while production is ramped up to an 85 million tonnes per annum annualized throughput rate”, further read the issued statement. “As the priority for Cobre Panama remains the health and safety of the workforce and surrounding communities, the strict protocols and sanitary vigilance will remain in place”.
In order to ensure compliance, the mining company will follow procedures to the letter. “There are currently approximately 800 personnel onsite, which will be gradually increased in compliance with Cobre Panama’s reopening plan and in line with MINSA guidelines”. This will ensure that production targets are met in the near term. “The operation is expected to ramp up to full production by mid-August, depending on the successful implementation of the reopening plan”.
With no cases of COVID-19 detected on the Cobre Panama site since April 30, 2020, health officials will continue to work with the Mining company to ensure this is maintained. “We continue to work very closely with MINSA throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic, and we are confident that we can adhere to our health protocols which are at the highest international standards” said Gordon White, General Manager, Cobre Panama. “I am immensely proud of the efforts of the Cobre Panama team during this challenging time. The lifting of the suspension order is testament to the hard work from each and every person on the site, working away from their families over the past weeks.” Mr. White added: “Cobre Panama has received support from the employee union UTRAMIPA, the local business community, and from the Government of Panama to reach this milestone. We are especially grateful to the dedicated health professionals in the country who have been working to resolve the wider pandemic in Panama whose efforts we will continue to support.”
The mining company’s safety efforts apply across all its outfits including Zambia. “First Quantum Minerals has put in place contingency plans to deal with the global COVID-19 pandemic by further strengthening clinical healthcare facilities and stepping up prevention awareness for employees and communities surrounding its mining operations in the Kalumbila and Solwezi districts of North-Western Province”, according to Evans Mumba in an article published for miningnewszambia.com.