- Published on Sunday, 22 September 2013 17:01
We think of gold as a sign of prosperity, but the farmers and communities most affected by mining just want their rivers and land back.
"To you readers, and especially those who think of gold as something of value, we invite you into the room. Some of you have followed us in our journeys to gold-mining country in El Salvador where OceanaGold has joined forces with Canadian company Pacific Rim. We invite you to ponder OcenaGold's claim: prosperity for whom?
Listen to the weary and distraught mother as she tells us that her family lives so close to the enormous conveyor belt that carries rock to be crushed that she and her four school-age children cannot study or sleep. They hear the loud droning noise 24 hours a day. When the mining company blasts rock, it feels like an earthquake. But it is her house and her land, and what is she to do?" (READ MORE)
- Published on Sunday, 22 September 2013 16:27
by Robin Broad
First published in: http://triplecrisis.com/buzzwords-responsible-mining/#more-8529
Buzzwords and Fuzzwords - terms that became popular but mean vastly different things to different people. We've had a long list: development, sustainability, good governance, civil society, accountability. "Corporate responsibility" should certainly be on that list. And the avalanche of new buzzwords and fuzzwords continues: emerging markets, inclusive growth, resilience.
But today's buzzword winner is: responsible mining. Meaning what exactly? Well, not surprisingly, as is the case with most buzzwords, it means whatever the user wants it to mean. So, let me try to distinguish among the top four uses of "responsible mining."
PRESS RELEASE:ICSID rejects request by Commerce Group to extend trial against El Salvador due to failure to pay
- Published on Monday, 12 August 2013 14:26
Given its failure to pay its fees to ICSID, the tribunal rejected the extension request by the mining company Commerce Group in the trial against El Salvador
On August 9th the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) denied an extension request by the mining company Commerce Group Corp to continue its suit against the Salvadoran government. The ruling announced through its website makes reference to its finding that the company has not demonstrated that it has the financial resources to continue the process in this tribunal, which is part of the World Bank. It is a ruling that we favor despite being based on the non-payment of fees by the company and not on the recognition of the dangers of pollution and destructive mining. A similar resolution on this case had already been announced by ICSID in 2012, so it is not a victory for the Salvadoran state in its defense of its sovereign right to deny mining permits to the company.
In October 2010, Commerce Group, a mining company of American origin, initiated a lawsuit for USD $100 million against the Salvadoran state when it revoked the operating license for the San Sebastian mine. The mine is located in the province of La Union in the east of the country, where the mining company maintained operations intermittently for several decades of the last century. The permit was denied because of the pollution of the San Sebastian River and other irreversible ecosystem impacts. The San Sebastian River, located at the foot of the mine in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Lima, today suffers alarming levels of pollution from the mining of heavy metals by the same company. Experts and national and international organizations, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Human Rights Ombudsman, have denounced the contamination at the site and pointed out that the serious environmental degradation is affecting the rights to life, water, food, health and the environment of communities in the area.
Despite the disaster, Commerce Group has continued attempting to blackmail the Salvadoran state, making use of international corporate tribunals while not responding to the proven pollution impacts and without respecting the refusal of the people who prefer to preserve the few natural resources they have left.
As in the case of the demand for USD $315 million that the Canadian company Pacific Rim is bringing against the Salvadoran government, this is an extortion that demonstrates the enormous privileges that our policy makers have given to multinational corporations.
The Salvadoran state, in particular the institutions that must protect it, instead of celebrating victories that do not belong to them, and if indeed it is their intention to ensure our national sovereignty, should review and stop promoting investment agreements, such as the free trade agreement with the United States, the Association Agreement with the European Union, the Partnership for Growth and the law for Private Public Partnerships, that give privileges and maximum protection to the investment rights of transnational corporations to the detriment and expense of our sovereignty and human rights. In addition, if its mandate is to promote and defend the rights of the Salvadoran population, the government should urgently promote a law that bans metal mining given the enormous risks that it entails to the country.
San Salvador, August 10, 2013
National Roundtable on Metallic Mining
- Published on Thursday, 22 August 2013 14:27
An estimated ten thousand people hailing from different parts of the country marched through the streets of San Salvador today to demand that the Environment and Climate Change commission of the Legislative Assembly resume discussions on a General Water Law for El Salvador.
The march is the culmination a series of direct actions that environmental organizations and communities affected by water scarcity in El Salvador have led since the beginning of July, after negotiations to approve the law reached a stalemate.
The deadlock is caused by fundamental ideological differences from the political parties that make up the commission claims Samuel Ventura, an activist with ACUA , an organization promoting the right to water in the department of La Libertad.
“One the one hand, the left leaning FMLN supports aspects of a bill proposed by social organizations which call for public administration and for prioritizing the public use of scarce water resources of the country”; on the other hand, the right wing ARENA party has opposed those principles and has “instead advocated for the involvement of the private sector in the administration and regulation of the water supply” explained Ventura in a community organizing meeting back in July.
The first attempt to legislate the use of water in El Salvador was introduced in 2006 by the Foro de Agua, a coalition of environmental and social organizations that submitted a draft bill to the National Legislative Assembly containing a legislative framework to publicly manage the scarce water resources in the country.
Government officials at the time dismissed the bill as unnecessary claiming the use of water use was already regulated by different government institutions including the Ministry of the Environment, MARN and the autonomous water administration agency ANDA.
- Published on Monday, 22 July 2013 11:53
By Leonel Flores, ARPAS Editorial
Last week the Legislature of El Salvador amended the Investment Law so that disputes between foreign investors and the state are settled in local courts before going to arbitration bodies such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID ).
The reform, which has gone unnoticed even by social movement organizations that reject the demands of transnational corporations in the ICSID, is of prime importance because it returns a hint of the country's sovereignty, sovereignty tainted by free trade agreements, bilateral investment agreements and by the Investment Act itself.
- Published on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 02:01
By Danielle Marie Mackey
First published in: http://www.guernicamag.com/features/the-rights-clash/
Mining in El Salvador exposes the contradiction between human rights and corporate rights under the international investment regime.
Images by Danielle Marie Mackey
“This is practically an urban country. We’re talking about putting a mine in the middle of a city,” exclaimed Fr. Jose Maria Tojeira from the stage. “Imagine mining in the middle of New York or Paris. That’s what they want to do here in El Salvador. This is… crazy.”
Fr. Tojeira, the ex-rector of one of the leading universities in El Salvador, was giving a presentation during the international “Gold Mining and the Defense of Water in El Salvador” conference that took place in May. The country is embroiled in a battle on the subject: civil society is demanding that the Congress pass a law banning metallic mining, while two North American mining companies are suing the Salvadoran government to defend their right to mine.