Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Protests against Au Martinique Silver, Inc

Opposition to gold mining in El Salvador is leading to growing protests in El Salvador, the US, and Canada, home to most of the mining companies. The following communication from the US-El Salvador Sister Cities organization sets out their program:

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July 3, 2006

As communities gather in Chalatenango to strengthen their resistance to foreign mining interests and carry their message directly to the national government, a complementary movement grows in North America. Representatives from US-El Salvador Sister Cities (USESSC), the SHARE Foundation, Mining Watch Canada, and the Center for Alternative Mining Development Policy, among others, have come together in solidarity with the communities of Chalatenango to stop unwanted mining development from continuing in the region. North American supporters of the Salvadoran communities say that Canadian exploration company Au Martinique Silver, Inc., is behaving irresponsibly towards both its investors and the affected Salvadoran communities as it pursues an unstable and risky investment. Au Martinique describes their exploration investment in Chalatenango as stable and valuable, referring to the company's "good neighbor" program [1] and El Salvador's "low risk profile" [2] for business investment—but in Chalatenango a good neighbor program is unwelcome, and a low risk profile, non-existent.

In the region, mayors have united across political party lines to oppose mining development in their municipalities. Community members have declared their right and intention to use "the necessary measures" to defend their lands against mining. [3] Company representatives are by no means welcome in the communities, and community members have come together to destroy the markers the exploration company has left behind on their land. [4] Au Martinique's claims that they are working in a "framework of mutual trust and cooperation with local communities" [5] are black-and-white only on the company's press releases—in the hills of Chalatenango, neither trust nor cooperation are anywhere to be found. Supporters in the U.S. and Canada, coordinated through the USESSC network, are advising Au Martinique against these misrepresentations and warning directors, shareholders and potential investors of the instability and inadvisability of Au Martinique's investment in El Salvador.

On June 9, Au Martinique executives declined the opportunity to hear these warnings from their own stockholders. Two members of the Sister Cities network who had purchased Au Martinique stock designated official proxies to attend the annual meeting of Au Martinique's shareholders, held in Morrison, Colorado. The proxies came to the meeting intending to share with other investors their position that Au Martinique's investment was risky and inadvisable, carrying with them a statement from the Chalatenango communities to back up their stance. The proxies were denied entry to the meeting, on the grounds that they had purchased their stock too late, and were escorted from the meeting by security guards. When told that they brought statements from the Chalatenango communities, C.E.O. Jeffrey Klenda replied that he "wasn't interested in seeing them." Outside the shareholder meeting, the proxies joined a protest coordinated by contacts from the Stop Newmont Mining Alliance.

Au Martinique is increasingly aware of local resistance to their presence. Supporters in the US and Canada are making sure that the company understands the extent of the resistance and its serious impacts for the financial health of the company's investment. Meanwhile, the people of Chalatenango have made it clear that resistance will not stop until the company respects the peoples' right to self-determination over their own land, water, and communities. In Chalatenango, that day will come when Au Martinique leaves the province for good.

To get more involved in the campaign against Au Martinique, email sistercities@gmail.com. We ask you to join us by writing letters, following up with press contacts, and strengthening connections to other groups in solidarity.

Continuing the effort to document and share the communities' reality, the CCR and the Regional Table on Mining in Chalatenango are using a video camera provided by the Sister Cities Anti-Mining work commission to document the organization and struggle that is taking place. The work commission will be making this footage available to counterparts in North America, and together with the communities, exploring the possibility of producing a more formal video.

To support the video documentation project or the direct community organizing of the CCR, send a check (memo: "anti-mining") to US-El Salvador Sister Cities, P.O. Box 2543, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901. All contributions are tax-deductible.

[1] "Au Martinique Silver Initiates Good Neighbor Program", Company Press Release 3/15/2006.

[2] Au Martinique investor presentation, 3/2006. http://www.aumartiniquesilver.com/investors/presentations/AUU_investor_presentation.pdf.

[3] CCR Communities Statement on Mining, 3-16-06. http://www.pica.ws/ss/mining_docs/3-16-06CCR_communities_statement_on_mining.pdf

[4] "Communities of Chalatenango Destroy Mining Company Exploration Work", 6/2/2006. http://www.pica.ws/images/mining-marker-destroyed-6-2-06.pdf.

[5] "Au Martinique Silver Initiates Good Neighbor Program", Company Press Release 3/15/2006.

2 comments:

El-Visitador said...

7 Chalatenango municipal councils signed the "statement." However, Chalatenango has 33 municipalities. Nice majority, there!

"100 people locate and destroy a drill sample marker" ---Uh uh... wanton destruction of private property. Who are these people? Savages. Ever heard of a court of law?

All in all, a nice piece of agitprop for gullible gringos who would be horrorized if people in the U.S. started doing vigilante justice and destroying property in the U.S.

HODAD26 said...

gullible gringos?
who the f... YOU calling this Pal
the gold mines will stop
the 460 million to corrupt ES will be questioned starting in January with Democrat Congress, rest asssured
and the USA needs some revolucionary tactics
as we sabotaged nuke plants in the 70's 80's
so get a grip
gold mining is horrendous for the environment
you a supporter of gold mining
then you obviously do not care for El Salvador and it's waters