The mining industry does not provide enough income to cover the employment, food, and quality of life needs of the communities in the department of Cabañas. Thus, reflecting on alternatives that guarantee improved living conditions is a necessity, according to the study ¨Economic alternatives to metal mining", by Dr. Vladimir Pacheco.
Agriculture and livestock ranching represent two of the activities that communities from Cabañas are currently engaged with, and could be promoted as alternatives to artisanal and industrial mining. These activities can generate higher incomes and a better quality of life, compared to what could have been achieved with mining activities. This is the conclusion of the study on "economic alternatives to the extractive industry", carried out by the Association for the Development of El Salvador CRIPDES and the Association ADES from Santa Marta.
The mining industry does not provide enough conditions to improve access to employment, food, water and higher quality of life of the communities in the department of Cabañas. Thus, reflecting on alternatives that guarantee improved living conditions must be an option.
Vladimir Pacheco, author of the investigation explained that “when we started to see the amount of damage left by the mine and the taxes the company would pay to compensate the damage, we realized that the $16 million the company would pay in environmental fees, would not even begin to pay for the damage that it would cause".
In addition, the study reveals that the economic benefits of the mining project would not contribute to enhance the quality of life of the inhabitants of Cabañas, so it is the State that must take action. "Betting on the development of the local economy, the productive capacities of small producers, would be a way of improving the quality of life of the population," said Antonio Pacheco, representative of ADES Santa Marta.
The organizations hope that this study will serve as a policy blueprint for the Salvadoran government to speed up the closing of artisanal mines, to ensure compensation for the damages caused by the industry and finally to comply with the mandate embodied in the Law on Prohibition of Metal Mining, approved in March of 2017.
The study was also presented to communities in Cabañas.