Jose Mejia | Transparecia Activa
Luis Parada, the attorney representing the Salvadoran State in the international litigation initiated by Pacific Rim/Oceana Gold, explained that before an adverse ruling, the company tried to delay the resolution of the award and evaluate whether the government could negotiate the resolution to avoid losing its claim to $300 million in compensation.
Parada said that although it had been announced that the award (ruling) could be ready in in late August, he has now says been told that it is likely to be until mid-September and, if favorable, would be a symbolic achievement.
He added that on Monday, August 22 the Tribunal of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), based in Washington under the jurisdiction of the Word Bank, officially communicated with the two parties involved in the dispute to let them know that "the award was still being translated but that was in the final stage, in the review of the translation. There, it was suggested that mid-September was expected resolution ".
"But the real reason for the delay," said Parada, who represents the interests of the state, was that they learned that the mining company "was negotiating with someone".
According Parada, on Wednesday August 24. Attorneys for Pacific Rim sent a letter to the ICSID tribunal saying that it "had made a proposal to the government of El Salvador to have private and confidential conversations, so they requested the court to delay issuing the award for 30 days, with the hope that the talks bear fruit with the Salvadoran government."
"For me it was a surprise because neither I, nor government lawyers, had heard anything from the Pacific Rim Company," said Parada.
Faced with such a request and after the respective institutional consultations, the Attorney General's Office (FGR), who is also part of the case for being the defender of the interests of the state, said they were not interested in holding any discussions with lawyers of Pacific Rim Company/Oceana Gold and therefore had to reject the request of the company.
Three hours after the application for the mining company before the Tribunal was filed, the government reacted and said flatly that "did not give its consent for the award to be delayed and, on the contrary, requested the Court that the resolution was issued as soon as possible, "said the Salvadoran lawyer.
After this attempt from the mining company and after its request to postpone the decision, the President of the Republic met with members of the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining and reaffirmed his commitment that during his government no environmental permit for the development of mining explorations would be issued.
Given the optimism of representatives of the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining (MNFM), Saul Baños said that "today we have a fairly hopeful context with positive signs in the case" since the meeting Thursday the President of the Republic, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, reaffirmed the political will of the government not to allow an activity that goes against the interests and security of the population and the environment.
Last year the Institute of Public Opinion of the UCA (IUDOP) conducted a nationwide survey where it became clear that 79% of the population polled said it would not be desirable to have metal mining in El Salvador.