Because mining endangers life, the Salvadoran government must ban metallic mining.
In 2006 the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador introduced a bill to regulate mining activity in the country. Among other things, the bill proposed a ban on exploration and exploitation of metallic mining and sought to replace the Mining Promotion Act passed in 1995.
To date, our initiative has been shelved at the Legislative Assembly despite broad public consensus on the need to protect our ecosystems from polluting industries such as mining and the urgency to reverse the critical environmental conditions such as the current scarcity of clean water in our country.
The prohibition of metallic mining is an unavoidable obligation in order to safeguard the lives of present and future generations. Our governments are obliged to fulfill that obligation as established by the constitution, local legislation and international law. Yet, the current Salvadoran government continues to neglect its constitutional duty hiding behind technical justifications and ambiguous arguments. To avoid the decision to ban mining is to benefit the interests of a small corporate elite at the expense of the great majority of the population who see their lives threatened by the mining industry. To evade the decision until another environmental disaster has occurred would reinforce patterns of governmental and corporate negligence already established in case of the Record Car Batteries factory or the current kidney failure epidemic unleashed by the indiscriminate use of pesticides and other agro-toxics.
There is no economic justification to explain the Salvadoran government’s inaction on the prohibition of metallic mining. Given our current environmental calamities, the introduction of an economic activity such as industrial mining in El Salvador will lead the high costs of contamination of our ecosystems, increased water scarcity, community conflict and population displacement. Instead of mining, the foundation for economic recovery should be based on the development of sustainable industries and progressive fiscal reform so that those who have more pay more.
The proposed new Act Metallic Mining Ban will be presented to the Legislative Assembly on October 1st. While this new proposal does not intend to regulate a particular economic activity, it does make it explicit that all activities related to metal mining should be categorically banned.
We invite different sectors of the Salvadoran society to demand the passage of this new bill and to urge members of the Committee on the Environment and Climate change at the Legislative Assembly to vote in favor of life and the wellbeing of the population by prohibiting metallic mining at once.
We demand the prohibition of metal mining now!
National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining