(Reuters) – Shares in Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals continued their fall for the third straight day, on looming uncertainty over the future of the company’s key open pit copper mine project in Panama.
Panama President Laurentino Cortizo said on Sunday the country would hold a referendum to decide whether to scrap contract with First Quantum’s local unit following days of protests by thousands of people opposed to the project.
At least 10 brokerages have cut their price target on the stock since the news of the referendum emerged.
First Quantum shares were down 12.6% at C$14.02 on Wednesday. They have nearly halved since the start of the week.
Investors are reluctant to stay exposed to political risk that cannot be reasonably predicted, Raymond James analysts said in a note about the mine that has produced 350,438 tonnes of copper in 2022, and accounted for about 45% of the company’s total copper production.
“Share price performance over the past two days reflects a market view that the likelihood of a negative outcome on Cobre Panama is more likely than not,” they said.
Analysts said given the importance of the mine to First Quantum’s overall portfolio, stock may fall further in case the contract is scrapped.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy and Tanay Dhumal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)