Sunday, May 21, 2017

First Quantum Minerals to commission $5.5b Panama copper project in just months

First Quantum Minerals to commission $5.5b Panama copper project in just months
Vancouver’s First Quantum Minerals (TSE:FM) is just a few months away from commissioning its massive $5.48 billion copper project in Panama, one of the largest of very few new red metal mines to begin production by the end of the decade.
The company, which gained control over the Cobre Panama project in 2013 with the acquisition of rival Canadian copper miner Inmet mining, said May 18 the open-pit mine was now about 50% complete.Speaking at the Paydirt Latin America Downunder conference, in Perth, First Quantum global exploration director, Mike Christie, said the firm would spend close to $1 billion this year to advance construction at the project, located about 120 km west of Panama City, and 20 km from the Caribbean Sea coast.
The miner plans to invest a further $830 million next year and $110 million in 2019, when the mine is expected to reach full capacity of 320,000 tonnes of copper annually.Once that happens, First Quantum’s total production will surpass 900,000 tones a year, making the company one of the world’s top six copper producers.
Panama will also reap the benefit from the operating mine, as it is expected to generate around $2 billion worth of annual exports during its 34-years of life. That, according to Christie, is equivalent to around 4% of the Central American nation’s current GDP.Cobre Panama is already generating some benefits for the country’s economy, as it’s creating 7,000 jobs during construction and will employ 2,500 people once in operations, the company said.First Quantum, which has operating mines in Australia, Zambia, Mauritania, Turkey, Spain and Finland, is also developing two other projects in Latin American — Haquira in Peru and Taca Taca in Argentina – but it hasn’t decided which one will develop first.
Miguel Sanchiz – Panama Business –misancosa@gmail.com

Monday, May 15, 2017

Airport Authority of Pittsburgh in talks with Copa Airlines

Airport Authority of Pittsburgh in talks with Copa Airlines

After landing nonstop flights to Iceland and Frankfurt, Pittsburgh International Airport is turning its eye south to Panama.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is talking to Copa Airlines about starting service to Panama City. Christina Cassotis, the authority’s CEO, has had conversations with the airline about flights between Pittsburgh and Panama City, spokeswoman Alyson Walls confirmed.

After landing nonstop flights to Iceland and Frankfurt, Pittsburgh International Airport is turning its eye south to Panama.

“There’s nothing imminent. There’s no timetable. It’s part of that overall international air service strategy. She thinks they would be a good fit for here,” Ms. Walls said.

Ms. Cassotis mentioned the talks during a recent breakfast meeting. She also discussed the possibility of landing Copa during an interview after becoming the authority’s CEO in 2015.

Copa operates from its hub at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, the capital of Panama. It offers about 355 flights to 69 destinations in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean from its headquarters, according to its website.

In recent years, Copa has been expanding rapidly in the United States. In December, Denver will become its 13th market in the U.S. Other cities it flies to include Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Tampa and Las Vegas.

“They’re definitely a carrier in a growth mode,” said William Swelbar, executive vice president of Boston-based Intervistas Consulting, an economic and financial consultant to airlines and airports.

After becoming CEO, Ms. Cassotis described Copa as a “long-term play,” and Ms. Walls said there’s no timetable for the airline’s recruitment. “We’re watching them. We’re aware of them. We’re trying to see how they fit into the plan and market here,” Ms. Walls said. Mr. Swelbar said Copa would be a “great addition to the Pittsburgh route portfolio.”

“To get access to Copa would really open up Latin America to the Pittsburgh market,” he said. “[Copa] has a very good hub structure there. It is a financially strong carrier.”

But Blair Pomeroy, a longtime aviation strategy consultant who has worked for airlines in the past, saw little value in recruiting Copa to start service in Pittsburgh.

He predicted “very minimal traffic” between Pittsburgh and Panama City, adding that the number of passengers connecting to other destinations in Central or South America would be “tiny” in his view.

Based on his research, Mr. Pomeroy said fewer than five people a day currently fly from Pittsburgh to Panama City. He said that likely would increase with nonstop service, but not nearly enough to fill a small narrow body mainline jet like a Boeing 737 or Airbus 320. “There’s just absolutely no way that would ever work,” he said.


Bob Kerlik, an authority spokesman, said the flight has the potential to generate much more traffic. Because Tocumen airport is a connecting hub for Copa, the flight would offer travelers easy access to other destinations in Central and South America.

Miguel Sanchiz - Panama Business - misancosa@gmail.com

Friday, May 12, 2017

New Campaign From VML for Panama: Looking for Adventurers not Tourists

(Panama, Panama).- New Campaign From VML for Panama: Looking for Adventurers not Tourists

The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) and its new agency VML are introducing a new advertising campaign with a unique selling proposition for a country trying to attract visitors: the country isn’t set up well for tourists.

"In Panama, there are a lot of hidden of gems that you must work for to experience," says Sean Burns, executive creative director, VML. "A lot of locals haven’t seen the best parts of the country because it entails going off the beaten path."

"We set out to create an identity that was uniquely Panama – but more than people realized it was," says Burns. "The work is an invitation into discovering what this incredible country offers."

The WPP-owned agency is promoting this campaign via broadcast channels, PR, and print ads and pamphlets. Media also includes in-flight, paid Facebook and Instagram, digital display ads and YouTube pre-roll. Emails and other media direct people to the VisitPanama.com.

This strategy is designed to convert people into becoming Panama enthusiasts while they’re looking for flights and researching more “cliché” destinations like Cancun, or Costa Rica, says Burns. "Importantly, while people are in flight to any number of destinations via Copa Airlines fleet of planes, they’ll be exposed to how great Panama is – which might just be enough to draw them to Panama next time."


The Panama Tourism Authority hired a VML to get an outsider’s take on their country. Last year, the National Tourism Council (CNT) and the ATP authorized a two-year budget of $20 million to develop an international advertising campaign. "We’re part of their target audience - U.S., Canada, Spain and they brought us to the table to create a unique perspective," says Burns. "Previously, the PTA had been creating advertising based on how they see their country. We portrayed Panama in a way they never would have."

Miguel Sanchiz - misancosa@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ENGIE and AES Agree to Expand their LNG Marketing Partnership from Panama to Central America

(Panama, Panama).- ENGIE and AES Agree to Expand their LNG Marketing Partnership from Panama to Central America

ENGIE and The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) have agreed to enter into a joint venture to market and sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to third parties in Central America.

The joint venture will utilize the Costa Norte LNG terminal currently under construction in Colón, Panama, which is owned 50/50 by AES and Inversiones Bahía. The total capacity of the Costa Norte LNG terminal is approximately 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), of which 25% will be used for the 380 MW AES Colón CCGT currently under construction on the same site. ENGIE will supply up to 0.4 mtpa of LNG to the CCGT beginning in 2018. The remaining terminal capacity is primarily available for the joint venture to market and sell to third parties, including up to 0.7 mtpa of LNG sourced from ENGIE mainly through the Cameron gas liquefaction project in the United States.

This joint venture further strengthens the joint marketing agreement signed by ENGIE and AES late last year, whereby both groups agreed to jointly market LNG in the Caribbean, from AES’ Andres re-gasification facility in the Dominican Republic. The combined regasification capacity of Andres in the Dominican Republic and Costa Norte in Panamá is approximately 3 mtpa.

ENGIE’s and AES’ objective continues to focus on providing a cleaner and more cost-effective alternative to oil-fueled power generation, while at the same time satisfying a growing need for natural gas in Central America and the Caribbean. This new agreement will pave the way for ENGIE and AES to supply LNG to industrial customers, develop small scale demand and provide bunkering services.


Miguel Sanchiz – misancosa@gmail.com