Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mining stories while we wait

We give them jobs and they give us gold!

There is an ongoing conflict between interests which want to develop gold mines in El Salvador and a grass roots environmental movement sworn to stop any mining.   So far the anti-mining movement is winning, having persuaded the government to continue an ad hoc ban on all new permitting for mining.   That ban led the Canadian gold mining company Pacific Rim to bring an international arbitration under the DR-CAFTA trade agreement and El Salvador's investor law.   The DR-CAFTA claim has been dismissed, but the arbitration continues under the investor law.     Meanwhile the anti-mining movement continues to push to have a mining ban actually incorporated into law.  

This history is well known to readers of this blog, and the conflict has been going on for many years.   If you want to read in depth, just choose the "mining" topic from the right side column on the blog.

As we continue to wait for either a decision in the Pacific Rim arbitration or movement on a mining ban in the National Assembly,  the Christian Science Monitor published a pair of stories this week on the mining conflict.   The longer story titled  El Salvador: buried treasure or fool's gold? is a piece generally sympathetic to Pacific Rim's attempts to open its El Dorado gold mine in the country.  The shorter story is titled  Mining is no savior for El Salvador, says Catholic Church and describes the role of the Catholic church in supporting a mining ban in the country.  

Noticeably absent from the stories were the voices of the active members of the coalition of groups who oppose gold mining in the country and have made this such a visible story.  To get that perspective, you'll have to go to, with regular articles from the anti-mining movement.


Carlos X said...

Tim, as you know, the challenges seen in this mining conflict in El Salvador are repeated throughout Latin America and throughout the world. In El Salvador, the churches have joined the issue. Therefore it will not seem surprising that the Vatican recently joined the fray with the Vatican hosting a forum that received a message from Pope Francis (whose Latin American background has almost certainly exposed him to the issue), that said in part: "Mining, like many other industrial activities, has ecological and social consequences which go well beyond national borders and pass from one generation to the next ... so as not to repeat grave errors of the past, decisions today cannot be taken solely from geological perspectives or the possible economic benefits for investors and for the states in which the companies are based. A new and more profound decision-making process is indispensable and inescapable, one which takes into consideration the complexity of the problems involved, in a context of solidarity. Such a context requires ... the assurance that extraction activities respect international standards for the protection of the environment. The great challenge of business leaders is to create a harmony of interests, involving investors, managers, workers, their families, the future of their children, the preservation of the environment on both a regional and international scale, and a contribution to world peace."

Tim said...

Yet another reason to like Pope Francis.