The National Roundtable against Metal Mining issued the following response to the announcement of OceanaGold’s purchase this week:
Multimillion dollar company purchases Pacific Rim mining company, will seek agreements with political parties to proceed with mining in the country
On October 8, transnational mining company OceanaGold announced the acquisition of the shares and properties in El Salvador belonging to Pacific Rim Mining. With a value of $10,2 million USD, a company press release announced its intention to seek a negotiated solution to the impasse represented by the lack of approvals to date for an exploitation permit for the El Dorado mine in the department of Cabañas, in the north of El Salvador. This announcement represents a direct attack against the sovereignty and legitimate right of the Salvadoran population to reject an industry that is a threat to our lives.
In El Salvador, given the demonstrated relationship between political parties, national businesspeople and mining companies, it is not farfetched to suspect – and it merits further investigation – the closed door deals that could be taking place in the midst of the electoral campaign to put in place the conditions for metal mining to take place. Legislative Assembly representatives are particularly predisposed to such pressure to activate the exploitation of mining projects, which are a threat against the possibilities for life in this country, particularly given the way the debate over the Law to Prohibit Metal Mining has been held up.
The mining companies in question have also demonstrated their perverse way of operating. In the Philippines, New Zealand and El Salvador where they have operations, they have been called out for serious human rights violations and ecosystem damage. Pacific Rim and now OceanaGold have both reaffirmed their interest to continue extorting the country for $315 million USD before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). This is a case of the abuser seeking damages from the victim.
Given the above, to the Legislative Assembly, we reiterate the urgent necessity in El Salvador to immediately broaden and deepen a definitive ban on metal mining. Our recent presentation of the new proposed Special Law for the Prohibition of Metal Mining is even more timely and constitutes an important opportunity to avoid the worst socio-environmental damage in our country.
To the mining company OceanaGold, but principally to the Salvadoran population and national and international public opinion, we reaffirm our firm conviction to continue in the legitimate defense of our territory and to not rest until we acheive the definitive prohibition of mining exploration and exploitation in El Salvador.
National Rountable on Metal Mining.