Market Intelligence
Metals Panama Central America Industrial Development

Panama Mining

Panama has one of the highest concentrations of copper per unit area in the world.

The Government of Panama is giving mining the opportunity to become the country’s second-largest economic sector, after the Panama Canal.  Although the mining sector is small it holds significant potential for growth. Panama has a strong mineral endowment of gold, and copper resulting in a rich mining heritage. With a $6 billion-dollar private investment, Panama has the world’s largest open-pit copper development, becoming Panama’s biggest source of export and accounting for 3.5% of the GDP in 2021. The cooper development is estimated to hold 3.1 billion tons in proven and probable reserves. They employ approximately 7,000 people.

Some important considerations if you are interested in Panama’s mining sector:

  • Identified approximately 50 billion pounds of copper reserves, 12 million ounces of gold, 25 thousand ounces of silver, and 250 tons of molybdenum.
  • Approximately 15 awarded metallic minerals exploration and/or extraction concessions for a combined area of 50 thousand hectares. 
  • Any person, whether national or foreigner, may obtain a mining concession if they have the financial and technical capacity.
  • Mining concessions may be granted separately or all together: explore, exploit, transport, and benefit from mineral resources. They are granted by way of a contract with the State (represented by the Ministry of Commerce) and require the approval of the General Comptroller. Exploitation concessions require further approval of the Cabinet Council of the Executive Branch.
  • Mining companies must comply with Law 41 of 1998 which is the general environmental law.

If you are interested in the mining sector in Panama, contact your local Business Specialist or contact Jeane A. Zuñiga, Commercial Specialist in Panama by email at Jeane.Zuniga@trade.gov.

05/17/2022