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The Hypocrisy of NIMBY in the Green Transition Era

Hypocrisy of NIMBY in the Green Transition Era


First Quantum Leaps into the Frying Pan in Panama

Focusing on the recent developments involving First Quantum Minerals in Panama offers a compelling opportunity for us to address the ongoing obstacles to progress leveraged by small resource-rich republics such as the government of Panama. Not to mention social media madness stirred up against the mining industry by naive populist MSM movements. 

 Bullet Point Summary:

 According to a November 28 report at Reuters titled “Panama’s top court deals blow to Canada’s First Quantum, rules mining contract unconstitutional” :

  • Background: Panama’s Supreme Court ruled that Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals’ contract to operate a major copper mine is unconstitutional. This decision follows intense public protests against the deal, regarded as overly favorable to the company.
  • Implications of the Ruling: The ruling leads to a decline in First Quantum’s shares and raises concerns about the global copper market, as the Cobre Panama mine contributes about 1% of global copper production. This decision is also significant for Panama, with the mine representing about 5% of the nation’s GDP.
  • Economic and Political Repercussions: J.P. Morgan warns of the potential for Panama to lose its investment-grade rating if the contract is revoked. The issue is becoming central to Panama’s upcoming presidential election, with candidates advocating for more state control over the mine.
  • International Arbitration and Renegotiation: First Quantum signaled intent to start arbitration proceedings. In response to the protests, Panama’s government has enacted a bill banning new mining concessions, which complicates any renegotiation efforts.
  • Previous Experiences: The situation echoes First Quantum’s past experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they exited after arbitration over a canceled contract.
  • Mining in Panama in 2024: The event spotlights broader opposition to mining in Panama, where the government, much like communist-dominated China, is taking a firmer stance against new private mining projects in favor of state control. 
  • Protester groups on social media after the ruling said they would keep demonstrating in the streets until the ruling is published in the country’s official gazette.
  • First Quantum shares fell 5%. The company’s shares have lost more than C$10 billion ($7.4 billion USD) of its market value since the protests started and the mine was forced to suspend production.
  • The ruling will reverberate throughout the global copper market. First Quantum’s Cobre Panama mine accounts for about 1% of global copper production. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange was up 0.9% at $8,441 a metric ton at the time of this writing. 

NIMBY and the Global Mining Industry 2024

In the ever-evolving narrative of the global green transition, we’re seeing a stark contrast emerge, one epitomized by the recent ruling against Canada’s First Quantum in Panama and the widespread NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome. These are the “do more with less” elites who expect omelets on silver platters without cracking a few eggs. 

It’s an old story for heavy industry insiders, whether the cause is to save bones, buckwheat, or baboons, NIMBY syndrome erupts with downstream effects for anyone who uses a mine-derived product which includes, well, everyone on the planet. 

Despite the fact that mine recovery and reclamation technology is now a science of its own, 1970s hipster doofus legacy attitudes prevail and MSM-fired ignorance wreaks havoc with mining operations, whether deemed “essential” or not. 

This irony is not lost on heavy industry insiders: while protestors rally against mining operations, they simultaneously reap the benefits from the consumer products of the very industry they oppose. Well-compensated social media mobs broadcast their activist shenanigans using smartphones and gadgets made from the essential minerals and materials liberated from the deepest bowels of mining operations. 

Now profiteering politicians are turning Panamanian copper interests into a political football. Apparently, what’s good for First Quantum and 5% of Panama’s GDP isn’t good enough for the state-controlled mining crowd, a tactic so reminiscent of communist China’s tactics in essential metals and minerals supply and demand control. 

Copper: The Unsung Hero of Green Transition

Copper, often hailed as the unsung hero of the green transition, is indispensable in our journey towards a more sustainable future. Its pivotal role in everything from renewable energy infrastructure to electric vehicles underscores the critical need for mining.

Yet, this reality is often overshadowed by local and environmental opposition, as seen in the cases of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium project in Nevada and Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass Project.

First Quantum Minerals - Panama

The Panama Precedent and Global Challenges

The recent Panama ruling against First Quantum’s contract for the Cobre Panama mine brings the delicate balance between economic development and environmental stewardship to the forefront. The decision, which reverberates through the copper market and Panama’s economy, is a mirror reflecting similar struggles worldwide. The NIMBY attitude, once a hindrance primarily in the energy sector, now extends its roots into essential metal mining; even those crucial for green energy that the 21st Century world demands. 

A Call to Action for Heavy Industry

Industry leaders are at a crossroads. The need for essential metals and minerals, from powering our cell phones to critical defense applications, is irrefutable. Yet, we face an uphill battle against the backdrop of local opposition and environmental concerns. 

It’s time to engage in a more nuanced conversation about the role of mining in our modern world. The hypocrisy of protesting while enjoying the comforts provided by mining must be addressed head-on. Here at Resource Erectors, we recall all too well the controversy faced over a rare species of buckwheat as we reported back in June of 2021. 

Buckwheat Takes Priority Over the Domestic Lithium Supply Chain Emergency

In conclusion, as we navigate these complex waters, we must remember the vital role of mining in our daily lives and the broader context of our global transition to a greener future. The irony of the situation is too glaring to ignore. It’s time for a candid discussion about the essential, yet often invisible, role of mining in powering our world. 

Heavy industry is ready to keep a sustainable world up and running in the 21st Century. The question now is whether the 21st Century world will let us.  

About Resource Erectors

Resource Erectors is a leader in recruiting top talent for the heavy industry and construction sectors. With decades of experience, we specialize in connecting qualified professionals with career opportunities that drive the industry forward. With a keen eye on the evolving landscape of mining and heavy industry, we understand the challenges and opportunities that come with securing essential metals and minerals. Our mission is to bridge the gap between skilled individuals and companies striving for excellence in a world increasingly dependent on sustainable resource extraction. At Resource Erectors, we’re not just filling positions; we’re building the future of the industry, one placement at a time, so don’t hesitate to contact Resource Erectors today so we can all get to the work that keeps the world up and running.

Picture of Dan Duszynski

Dan Duszynski

CEO and President of Resource Erectors, Inc.. A search and recruitment firm serving the mining and mineral processing, and civil construction industries of North America.


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