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El Salvador: OceanaGold fails to pay $8 million intl. arbitration tribunal award; 280 NGOs demand the company leave the country

280 NGOs sent a letter to OceanaGold describing the negative impacts of mining in the country and requesting the company to pay immediately the $8 million USD for legal fees and expenses; to issue a public apology; to leave the country, and to cooperate fully with the investigation of assassinations in the conflict between the mining company and the community.

We invited OceanaGold to respond to this letter; the response is available below.


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27 March 2017

El Salvador: Intl. NGOs & Academics respond to OceanaGold on arbitration ruling ordering company to pay 8 million dollars

Author: American University, Institute for Policy Studies, MiningWatch Canada & Institute for Policy Studies

With OceanaGold’s attempt to rebut the facts of the letter signed by 280 organizations that collectively have over 180 million members, the company has made not only false but also nonsensical arguments. There is absolutely no legal foundation whatsoever for OceanaGold’s claim that it in order to pay the $8 million that it owes the Salvadoran government that it must wait for the ICSID tribunal’s supplementary decision regarding whether it must pay interest on this amount…[T]he ICSID ruling stated that the company has no right whatsoever to a concession. In addition, OceanaGold conveniently failed to mention that that not only did it lose (in a 3-0 vote by the ICSID panelists), but also that it was ordered to pay El Salvador $8 million…The fact that OceanaGold tries to hide its non-payment and non-response to El Salvador behind the existence of a pending request for a supplemental decision filed by El Salvador is outrageous…

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Company response
28 February 2017

OceanaGold response

Author: OceanaGold

...Due to additional filings made by the Government of El Salvador’s Washington-based attorney in December 2016 regarding the ICSID arbitration case, there are now additional considerations currently under review by the ICSID tribunal. These new filings have caused a delay in the finalisation of the ICSID arbitration decision…The ICSID tribunal did not make a ruling banning mineral development in El Salvador nor does the ICSID Tribunal have the authority to make such a ruling…Our activities in-country continue through the financial support our subsidiary, Minerales Torogoz, gives to the El Dorado Foundation (“Foundation”) - a not-for-profit organisation established in 2005 that delivers meaningful benefits to communities within the municipalities of San Isidro and Sensuntepeque in Cabanas. The El Dorado Foundation serves to be a positive reference of modern, responsible mining in Latin America…

Download the full document here

21 February 2017

280 Organizations with over 180 million members worldwide tell OceanaGold to abandon lost suit against El Salvador and to “Pack Up and Pay Up”

Author: 280 Organizations around the world

Today, 280 organisations based in five continents sent a statement to the CEO and Board of Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold demanding that it leave El Salvador and pay US$8 million to that government, as demanded by an investor-state tribunal in October…The suit exposed the extreme pro-corporate bias of investment protection clauses in current free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. Over seven years, El Salvador paid out over US$13 million in legal costs and fees, and the process cast a chilling effect on public policymaking in the country over a possible ban on metals mining…

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21 February 2017

Pressure grows on mining giant to pay $8 million to El Salvador

Author: teleSUR (Venezuela)

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...a deadline which ran out last week.  In October, the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID, which handles investor-state disputes, rejected a claim from the company that it had lost profits after the Salvadoran government refused to grant a concession for the El Dorado gold mine...This is the long-running legal battle against the company, which is still aiming to operate in the country despite the controversy...The company then took El Salvador to the ICSID in 2009 over what it argued was an infringement on its future profits...The ICSID ruling against the company came as a surprise because the tribunal has previously been criticized as a “kangaroo court” favoring the interests of corporations over states and Indigenous communities and environmental groups...

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20 February 2017

Letter: OceanaGold must Pay Up and Pack Up from El Salvador

Author: 280 Organizations around the world

…We, the undersigned organizations representing 180 million of people around the world, have been accompanying allied groups in El Salvador in support of their work to prevent gold mining in their communities since 2009…Given this ruling, we support our allies in the Salvadoran Roundtable on Metallic Mining in demanding that: OceanaGold accept ICSID’s decision and do not seek an annulment…pay immediately the $8 million USD you owe to El Salvador for legal fees and expenses; OceanaGold, Minerales Torogoz, Dorado Exploraciones, and the El Dorado Foundation leave El Salvador immediately…OceanaGold issue a public apology to the people and government of El Salvador for the damage already caused by Pacific Rim’s  exploration in northern El Salvador, the negative impacts of its ICSID suit, and the conflicts that have resulted from OceanaGold’s ongoing operation in northern El Salvador…With respect to the above, OceanaGold should cooperate fully in a full, impartial investigation into the murders and threats that have taken place in connection with this conflict over the years…

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