Monday, July 26, 2010

Progressive article on gold mining

The Progressive magazine has a good article titled Is Free Trade a Gold Mine? which provides an overview of the gold mining controversy in El Salvador. It describes over Pacific Rim's plans to mine gold in El Salvador and that company's lawsuit over the government's refusal to give it the necessary permit to start mining. As the article notes, there's a lot of money at stake:

The company estimates that 1.4 million ounces of recoverable gold sit in the Cabañas area. With gold at about $1,200 per ounce, that means potential profits in the hundreds of millions.

Under Salvadoran law, Pacific Rim would pay 2 percent in royalties for every ounce of gold mined, and a 25 percent tax on profits. Shrake said the mine would mean economic turnaround for a country he describes as “in shambles, coming apart at the seams.” It would, he said, create 600 direct jobs and about 3,000 indirect jobs, and become the biggest taxpayer in the country. Shrake said that by embracing mining, El Salvador could be like Chile, which he says more than doubled its GDP in the 1990s thanks to foreign investment in copper mines.

But Pacific Rim opponents say the environmental and social consequences aren’t worth any amount of money. They fear contamination from the cyanide used in the mining process, and acid mine drainage—acid runoff created when compounds within the ore are disturbed and exposed to oxygen. Aside from contamination, mining also uses massive amounts of water—about 250,000 liters per hour for a medium-size operation. Though El Salvador is a rainy country, lack of infrastructure, deforestation, and other issues have caused a critical shortage of clean water for the dense population.

Read more here.


Fransica Pineda said...

The Progressive article, although more accurate than most, is scientifically flawed. Conclusive tests published in the EIS for the project show, beyond a shadow of doubt, there will be no "acid mine drainage" from the El Dorado deposit. Both the orebody and wallrocks are highly alkaline and will not produce acid drainage. This can be proven by looking at the open portals and waste dumps that exist on the old mine property. More than 50 years of exposure at the surface and no acid mine drainage has ever been measured. This is a proven fact and can be verified, if the opposition wanted to publish the truth! The 2nd lie is the stated impact of the mine water use. The facility will capture rain water that is normally lost during the rainy season to use during the dry season. No water will be used from the underground or rivers in the area! In fact, a state of the art water treatment plant is planned to process any possible discharged water to standards higher than the existing surface and ground water in the area today! To the anti-mining groups, the end justifies the means so any lie or speculation they can use justifies their cause, if it prevents the development of this project! If this project would be evaluated on it's scientific and technical merit, there would be no doubt about it's development for the benefit of the El Salvador people. In stead, deception is used to cloud the issues and scare the local populous. Who are the real demons in this controversy?

humble.pie said...

dear fransica

won't you please run right up to the top of this page like a good girl & post your comments.

don't let those anti-mining activists get away with anything.

after all they are just a bunch of fringe-niks who've been brainwashed by the archbishop the ngos and other extra-terrestrials.

did you spend a lot of time studying the open portals and waste dumps at old Rosario, fransica.

gosh you must have been a pacific rim staffer or even - gasp !! - an officer, otherwise how would you have been allowed on the mine site.

here's another little hint.

your text will be ever so much more readable and convincing if you break it down into separate paragraphs.

like these.

Fransica Pineda said...

Read the EIS! Or can you read? Or do you ignore what you read to suite your politics? You are ignorant of the facts or, gasp!!, do you have an anti-mining agenda! Do you live here even? I doubt it but maybe you are from Santa Marta. I am sorry I didn't present my facts in cartoon form as your friends do but I do not have that talent! If I had a job, maybe I would be working for the company!

Tim said...

If you have a copy of the EIS, I'd be happy to post it on the blog. Transparency is a positive value for everyone and I agree that we should be debating the merits of the issue with the facts which are available.