UPDATE 1-Panama president says First Quantum talks in 'final stretch'

(Adds detail, background)

PANAMA CITY, March 3 (Reuters) - Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo said on Friday talks between his government and Canada's First Quantum Minerals over the operation of a major copper mine were in the final stretch, with only one point still to be resolved.

"We are in the final stretch to reach an agreement, but that agreement has to be beneficial for the Republic of Panama", said Cortizo in a speech in central Panama's Veraguas province.

"There is only one point that is currently pending and we hope it will be resolved as soon as possible", he said.

The Canadian miner, which operates the Cobre Panama mine in the Central American country, has been locked in a prolonged contract dispute with the government, with tax and royalties at the forefront of the stalemate.

Earlier this week, a lawyer advising the government had said that while two issues were almost resolved, a third issue regarded an "economic aspect" involving tax deductions, which the government said would hurt its income from the mine in times of high output and prices. (Reporting by Milagro Vallecillos; Writing by Sarah Morland; Editing by Sandra Maler and Diane Craft)