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Demonstrators take part in a protest against the government contract with Canadian mining company First Quantum, in Panama City, Panama, on Nov. 2.ROBERTO CISNEROS/AFP/Getty Images

First Quantum Minerals FM-T said on Friday production at the Cobre Panama mine remains uninterrupted hours before Panama’s congress passed a law banning new mining concessions after protests, including blockades of key roads.

Protesters have expressed concerns over the contract signed by the government and the company late last month, arguing it is tainted by corruption and too favourable to the Canadian miner, as well as harmful to the environment.

The company said it remains “confident” with respect to its legal position in Panama.

The ban would not hurt current operations of First Quantum as its contract was approved before the passing of the law.

Shares of the Canadian miner were up 10.7% at $17.40 in afternoon trade.

The bill was welcomed by citizens, but they have said they will keep protesting since it does not change the status of First Quantum’s contract.

The Cobre Panama mine accounts for 1% of global copper output and is operated by a local unit of First Quantum.

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