Thanks to the organised opposition to mining in El Salvador at both the national and international level, the resounding legal victory of the Government of El Salvador over OceanaGold(Pacific Rim) generated an incredible amount of media coverage.
Below you will find find a compilation of some of the many stories that were published.
Today, the General Attorney of the Republic of El Salvador offered a press conference in Washington D.C. to share the results of the arbitration, about which he had been notified by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID/ CIADI), with respect to the case that the Pacific Rim-Oceana Gold mining company had initiated in June 2009 against El Salvador.
This litigation went on for seven years. During this time, El Salvador had to spend over 13 million dollars in its defense. The mining company had initiated the process demanding 70 million dollars; over the time, the amount rose to over 300 million and, after a new calculation that it was obliged to accept, due to the fact that it had been proved that the numbers were deliberately inflated, the demand was set in 250 million dollars.
After Seven Years and Millions of Dollars, Decision Announced in Pac Rim Mining Company vs. El Salvador: Coalition of Groups States “There are No Winners”
Investor-State Arbitration Subverts Democracy
Cabañas, El Salvador / Washington DC / Ottawa / Melbourne – Civil society groups worldwide that have allied with Salvadoran communities and organizations working on mining and environmental issues reacted to today’s decision by the controversial International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on the seven-year old case of Pac Rim Cayman vs. El Salvador, stating that “there are no winners” in this case. On Friday, October 14, the tribunal announced their decision that Pac Rim’s lawsuit was without merit and hence that El Salvador will not have to pay the company the $250 million that it sought.
In 2009, Pac Rim Cayman LLC brought an “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) case against El Salvador at the World Bank Group’s arbitration venue, ICSID. The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold, sued El Salvador for alleged losses of potential profits as a result of not being granted a mining concession for a gold project. The government of El Salvador did not issue the concession because the company failed to meet key regulatory requirements.
On Friday October 7th, on the eve of the World Bank’s fall meeting, people around the world will demand that a tribunal of the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to release a favorable decision for El Salvador on the Pac Rim Cayman LLC vs El Salvador case.
Solidarity actions with the National Roundtable Against Mining in El Salvador will be held in El Salvador, Washington, Toronto, Melbourne and the Philippines to demand that:
1. The World Bank Group’s ICSID immediately release a favorable decision that will finally vindicate the people of El Salvador and will allow their government to recover all legal expenses.
2. OceanaGold immediately discontinue all of its operations in El Salvador, including its Salvadoran subsidiaries Minerales Torogoz and El Dorado Exploraciones, along with the bogus El Dorado Foundation, which demonstrates utter disrespect for the broad opposition to mining in the communities, and could escalate the potential for conflict and further violence levels already been seen when Pacific Rim operated there.
We support the President of El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who has stated that he remains firm in his commitment not to grant mining concessions.
Since OceanaGold acquired Pacific Rim in 2013, members of the the Maritime Union of Australia, along Salvadorean and Filipino residents in Melbourne, have held monthly solidarity actions to demand that the company withdraws from El Salvador and the Philippines.
A rally in support of the people of El Salvador will take place outside the offices of OceanGold on Friday Septemebr 30, at 357 Collins Street, Melbourne.
These actions are against the Australian mining company OceanaGold, which is suing El Salvador for over $300 million because it will not issue a mining permit.
The company is able to sue El Salvador because a previous government in that country agreed to Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) legislation. “The legal framework that has been created favours investors and violates the human rights of peoples” explained Bernardo Belloso, President of the Association for the Development of El Salvador.
El Salvador is one of the poorest countries, with average per capital income of $3,800 US per year. It is also one of the most densely populated countries with approximately 360 persons per square Km. It is also one of the most water starved with only about 2% of its surface water drinkable.
As the morning sun rises on the town of San Jose las Flores, members of the community prepare for the annual pilgrimage to the Urbina Hills, the site that once was the main exploration point for a gold mining project. Even though mining activity has been idle in over a decade, residents of Las Flores and surrounding communities make a religious journey through the mountains every September 14th, the eve of Independence Day in El Salvador, to commemorate the day the company was expelled.