- Published on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 20:01
By Tanya Sahni & Erica Wallis
On February 28th, Amanda Grzyb, associate professor of Information and Media Studies at Canada’s Western University gave a talk as part of an ongoing public interest lecture series, bringing the anti-mining struggle of El Salvador to the Canadian north with an informative presentation.
In a local library, a crowd gathered to learn about the environmental crisis in El Salvador and Salvadoran efforts to protect precious water resources from transnational mining companies. Having just returned from overseeing an international delegation in El Salvador herself, Grzyb was able to show her audience video footage of Salvadoran community leaders speaking about their ongoing struggles. Bringing the words of community leaders directly to a Canadian audience proved a powerful experience for those watching, and a passionate discussion followed the presentation. The audience was composed of a diverse group of students, professors, and many members of the local community. Also present at the talk were several members of the international delegation that had observed a referendum on mining in the community of Cinquera the previous week, as well as the Director of SalvAide, Alfredo Marroquin.
- Published on Sunday, 05 March 2017 21:31
Cabañas, El Salvador, Mar 1 2017 (IPS) - The citizens of Cinquera municipality in Cabañas delivered a resounding vote against mining, on Sunday February 26th, when 98 percent of residents voted in favour of becoming El Salvador’s fifth “territory free of mining.”
“Mining companies have a wide field with major extension in other countries, and often they need to use the comparative law of other countries to be able to apply their practices here in El Salvador. But the truth is that El Salvador is a country so small that industrial mining is not viable,”Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights, William Iraheta told IPS.
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but also has the highest population density, with 300 people per square kilometer. It is also he fourth most vulnerable country to climate change according to GermanWatch, with 95% of the population living in a high-risk zone. READ MORE
- Published on Sunday, 05 March 2017 21:13
Sandra Cuffe : Waging NonViolence
Communities and organizations in northern El Salvador continue to organize referendums in an effort to keep their territories free of mining. Established by the country’s Municipal Code as a mechanism for community participation, the consulta popular is an official municipal-level referendum on an issue of local concern that can be invoked by petition if residents are able to gather signatures from 40 percent of registered voters. On the books for years, the mechanism had never been used, but it now plays an important strategic role in the country’s movement against metallic mining. The most recent referendum took place on February 26, when more than half of all registered voters in the municipality of Cinquera flocked to polling stations in four communities. The final tally was along the lines of the four previous referendums on the issue: 98.1 percent of participating registered voters in Cinquera cast a ballot opposing metallic mining exploration and exploitation. The local government will now draw up an official municipal ordinance prohibiting mining in its jurisdiction. READ MORE
- Published on Sunday, 05 March 2017 21:00
Despite a deadline from the lawsuit passing, the company owes El Salvador US$8 million.
Over 280 organizations from around the world sent an open letter to Canadian-Australian mining giant OceanaGold on Tuesday, demanding that the company adhere to an earlier ruling by a World Bank body that ordered the company to pay the government of El Salvador US$8 million after a years-long legal battle.
OceanaGold, formerly Pacific Rim, was given 120 days to either to pay the US$8 million fine or to submit a plea to have the fine overturned, a deadline which ran out last week.
- Published on Friday, 03 March 2017 22:27
After seven years, four murders and US$24 million in total legal costs, in October 2016, a little-known World Bank tribunal trashed OceanaGold’s claim that El Salvador either owed it a mining permit for a proposed gold mine or US$250 million dollars.
The Washington D.C.-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) panel decided that OceanaGold’s predecessor Pacific Rim Mining never met the legal requirements under El Salvador’s mining law to obtain a permit to exploit gold and must pay the Central American country US$8 million towards its legal costs.
- Published on Friday, 03 March 2017 22:13
By Robin Broad and John Cavanagh : The Hill
This week, labor, environmental, religious and other groups, representing over 180 million people from around the world, sent a letter to a corporate mining CEO — a letter that is also a wake-up call for President Trump's trade agenda.
The letter highlights the problems with the so-called "investor-state" provision in trade deals, first created through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) 23 years ago. This provision unfairly prioritizes corporations, encouraging them to file lawsuits against governments that implement public health and other measures that impede future corporate profits.