Panama mining protests bad for FDI

Environmental protests in Panama are causing significant economic disruptions, with road blockages leading to losses of $200 million per day. Although the protests are winding down, the ongoing drought and reduced ship traffic through the Panama Canal are adding to economic challenges.

The protests were triggered by the signing of a contract between the government and Minera Panamá, resulting in a nationwide strike. Demonstrators argue that the deal violates national sovereignty and poses a threat to regional biodiversity. The Supreme Court of Panama declared the contract unconstitutional, and the mining output has been reduced due to disruptions. The Canadian owner, First Quantum, may consider international arbitration, potentially costing Panama $20 billion.

Retail associations estimate daily losses of up to $8 million, contributing to a total of $200 million over the first 30 days of the strike. Logistics losses are estimated at $4.6 billion and rising. With thousands of trucks stuck at Panama’s borders, the backlog is impacting global supply chains.

Shortages in food, fuel, and medicines are reported in some cities, prompting the government to import supplies from Costa Rica. The unrest is affecting Panama’s reputation as a logistics and investment hub, with potential consequences for foreign investment attractiveness.