El Salvador: New law bans metal mining due to impacts on environment & water supply


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30 March 2017

El Salvador votes for water over gold

Author: Pedro Cabezas, Institute for Policy Studies (United States)

…The people of El Salvador and their international allies against irresponsible mining are celebrating a historic victory. After a long battle against global mining companies that were determined to plunder the country’s natural resources for short-term profits, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly has voted to ban all metal mining projects. The new law is aimed at protecting the Central American nation’s environment and natural resources. Approved on March 29 with the support of 69 lawmakers from multiple parties (out of a total of 84), the law blocks all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.In the lead-up to the vote, communities in the town of Cinquera had rejected mining through a local referendum and the Catholic Church of El Salvador…

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29 March 2017

El Salvador, prizing water over gold, bans all metal mining

Author: Gene Palumbo & Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times (US)

…Lawmakers in El Salvador voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to prohibit all mining for gold and other metals, making the country the first in the world to impose a nationwide ban on metal mining, environmental activists said…Supporters said the law was needed to protect the country’s dwindling supply of clean water…The vote in the Legislative Assembly turned a decade-old moratorium on mining into law, halting efforts by international companies to tap the gold belt running across the northern provinces of El Salvador…[T]he law sets a powerful example to communities that oppose large mining projects and bolsters the case against mining in environmentally delicate areas…The risks of mining in El Salvador, however, are especially acute. The tiny country is densely populated and the second-most environmentally degraded country in the Americas…Last October, El Salvador won an international dispute that had been filed by Pac Rim and continued by the Canadian-Australian company, OceanaGold, that acquired it...

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