Foreign gold mining companies have big plans to explore and exploit gold deposits in northern El Salvador. Australian gold mining company Condor Resources has this statement about its plans in El Salvador:
Condor Resources has a number of projects in Central America with the potential to host world class high grade epithermal gold deposits. Both the El Potosi and El Pescadito projects in El Salvador have plus million ounce potential. There is also the potential to rapidly delineate resources on the San Albino project in Nicaragua with the planned exploration programs, raising the real possibility of early gold production. All these projects lay within major epithermal gold belts hosting world class gold deposits....
Condor Resources is one of an increasing number of companies actively exploring in Central America. Central America contains a mosaic of tectonic plates and plate boundaries that represent prime hunting ground for precious metal deposits and in particular gold and silver deposits. Since the 16th century, gold and silver has been mined from Central America with hundreds of million of ounces of silver and tens of millions of ounces of gold being produced since this time.
The mineral endowment of this small area is truly large scale when one takes into account that much of the region in under explored. The "Trifinio" or triple point of Honduras-Guatemala-El Salvador is a precious metal rich province.
Other foreign companies active in El Salvador include Canadian companies Intrepid Minerals, Au Martinique Silver and Pacific Rim
This interest in gold mining in El Salvador does not mean an economic bonanza for the country, as a presentation by Mining Watch Canada at Engineers Without Borders Conference, January 20, 2006, points out:
Does mining really alleviate poverty in the developing world? There's little evidence it does, and a lot of evidence that it actually creates poverty. The benefits of mining tend to be measured on a macro level - foreign exchange earnings, gross domestic product - rather than looking at any kind of measure of distribution of those benefits. The benefits of mining also tend to be measured in a vacuum - providing X many jobs - without mentioning how many thousand farmers or small-scale miners are losing their livelihoods.
In fact, academics - and even mining journals - talk about the "Resource Curse". It seems that extractive industries create poverty, not wealth; having rich deposits of minerals or oil does not make a poor country rich. Local elites may do well; investors and Bay Street brokers may do very well, but the workers and the people who lose their lands or water supplies don't get much in return. Studies in countries as different as Peru and Ghana have shown that where there is more mining, and more foreign investment in mining, there is also more poverty. This can be measured at any level - countries or counties that don't depend on mining have better economic growth.