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The cost of the closure of Canadian miner First Quantum’s copper mine in Panama is estimated at around $800-million, Trade and Industry Minister Jorge Rivera said on Wednesday.

An inter-ministry coalition, which is developing the mine’s closure plan, is working on alternative measures to recoup funds so that the cost does not come out of the state’s coffers, Rivera told journalists.

Panama’s government ordered the shutdown in December after protests calling for more environmental protections erupted across the country and a court ruling deemed the contract to run the mine unconstitutional.

It is still unclear who will pay for the mine’s closure process, but the Panamanian government suggested on Tuesday that First Quantum’s unit in the country set out financial guarantees to cover the cost of closing its lucrative copper mine.

Creating a plan to close the mine could take between six and eight months, the minister said, noting Panama is headed to elections in May so the next president will be the one in charge of finishing it.

The mine’s activity represents about 5% of the country’s GDP, and Panama is expected to see growth slow in 2024 to 2.5% from 7.5% as a result of the closure of the mine, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).