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Excerpt: "The smallest country in Central America - El Salvador - has approved a law prohibiting all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources. It is the first country in the world to do so."

Protesters gather in front of the World Bank to protest a lawsuit by OceanaGold against El Salvador. (photo: Nikki Kahn/WP)
Protesters gather in front of the World Bank to protest a lawsuit by OceanaGold against El Salvador. (photo: Nikki Kahn/WP)


El Salvador Makes History as First Nation to Impose Blanket Ban on Metal Mining

By RT

01 April 17

 

he smallest country in Central America – El Salvador – has approved a law prohibiting all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources. It is the first country in the world to do so.

The new law, supported by 70 lawmakers, bans all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals both in open pits and mines.

“It’s a historic day in El Salvador. It’s a historic day for the whole world,”, Environment Minister Lina Pohl told reporters after a vote in Congress, as quoted by the Financial Times.

“This is a brave step, an extraordinary step, and an enormous step toward reversing the environmental degradation in this country,” she added.

The level of environmental pollution in El Salvador is one of the highest in the region, second only to Haiti, and the availability of drinking water is the lowest, according to UN data.

“Mining is an industry whose primary and first victim is water. We are talking about an issue that is a life-or-death issue for the country,” said Andrés McKinley, a mining and water specialist at Central American University in San Salvador, as quoted by the New York Times.

The legislation was passed despite interest from international gold and silver mining companies.

In October, El Salvador won a lawsuit at the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the Australian-Canadian miner OceanaGold Corp.

The company demanded $250 million compensation after El Salvador retracted an extraction permit in 2009. OceanaGold was instead obliged to pay the country $8 million in legal costs.

El Salvador has the population of about six million people and has a $25.9 billion gross domestic product.

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+3 # Hopeless Historian 2017-04-01 09:24
Expect a U.S. invasion of El Salvador within months. Setting my stopwatch now.
 
 
+3 # chrisconnolly 2017-04-01 13:29
Yes, just how long will it take for the 'free market' prognosticators convince Trump we need to invade. Or maybe we will just drone strike them into oblivion. We can't have a government anywhere that doesn't put opulence of the few ahead of the people. We'll just privatize everything thereby crushing the mooching poor.
 
 
+2 # dipierro4 2017-04-01 14:04
The US has a history of allowing private armies to invade Central American nations. Given that Mr. Trump is a big supporter of for-profit prisons, perhaps he will not discourage a revival of that tradition.

Geez, I hope I'm not giving him ideas...
 
 
+4 # Desiderata 2017-04-01 10:38
America are you listening ?
 
 
0 # elizabethblock 2017-04-02 09:10
Not this time, I think. For one thing, the mining companies most affected, I think, are Canadian. For another, America can't get away with it, like it could in 1954 or even 1980.
 
 
0 # chrisconnolly 2017-04-02 11:11
I don't know about America not getting away with it. We're in Iraq and who knows how many other surrounding countries because we covet their oil. The mine owners, like United Fruit in the '50's, will scream bloody murder because their free market looting is hindered. I plan to write my two senators about standing firm against any action against El Salvador. They have a right to self determination. They have a right to protect their water.
 

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