Mining companies, such as Pacific Rim, have not convinced Salvadorans that gold mining will benefit the country. Although some persons have asserted in the comments of this blog that opposition to mining is just the product of a vocal group of outside gringo environmentalists who care nothing for the well-being of Salvadorans, a recent opinion poll shows a strong majority of Salvadorans in the potentially affected regions oppose mining. The poll was reported in an article in ContraPunto:
The results of the poll from the [UCA public opinion institute] are more than clear. The populations that inhabit the territories where mining is planned don't approve the activities, and moreover they reject the declarations of the mining industry that assures them that with the activity hundreds of jobs will be created and there will be improvements for the social and economic development of the communities.
62.5% of the population polled expressed the opinion that El Salvador is not an adequate territory for realizing mining works. Those interviewed were clear on the type of damages that the exploitation will generate, 80% of those consulted identify specific impacts like the contamination of rivers, soil, air, deforestation, water scarcity, wet season floods, among other effects.
The local peoples fear that the mining industry will affect their life -- 57.2% of those questioned expressed that fear. Also they showed themselves worried about foreseeable difficulties or damages in growing agricultural products. 56.8% were sure that it would effect them greatly. 59.2% feared that they would see livestock raising affected in their area.
The local development that the mines promote as a benefit, is not a view shared by the inhabitants of the northern zone of the country. 67.6% of those consulted believe that mining jobs would contribute little or nothing to the economic development of their municipality. (errors in translation are mine)
You can read the entire report of the public opinion poll here. Opposition to mining has also been expressed by the Catholic bishops of El Salvador due to, in the church's words, the "irreversible damage is causes to persons and the environment."