The lawsuit was filed as a result of the Salvadoran government’s moratorium on mining. The ruling may not be known until March 2015.
By Fernando Santos Castro
It all began in 2006 when a law to ban mining in our country was in introduced in our country, this law was introduced by civil society organizations that had had a negative experience with the El Dorado mine in the town of San Isidro, Cabañas; where Canadian mining company Pacific Rim had conducted exploration for gold and silver since 2005.
The negative experiences included persecution, and even murder for exposing the environmental cost and impacts posed by mining.
Hector Berrios of the Francisco Sánchez Unified Movement (MUFRAS): "In 2009 a terror campaign was mounted, the goal was to psychologically terrorize all members of the resistance opposed to mining projects." Berrios does not hesitate to make the Canadian mining company responsible for such actions.
The practice of the mining company in this territory violated human rights, and its inhabitants were exposed to contracting diseases from water contaminated with chemicals used in the extraction process, which seep into the ground aided by the rain.
Saúl Baños from the Foundation for the Study of Applied Law (FESPAD) emphasized: "El Salvador does not have the financial, environmental and social conditions for mining," and lamented the lack of consideration by a corporation with large quantities of wealth that think only on enriching itself at the detriment of the health of the inhabitants.
Given the conditions expressed obove, the National Roundtable against Metallic and Oxfam, began a campaign to raise awareness of the adverse situation under which communities surrounding the El Dorado mine live, and the possible compensation the Salvadoran State would have to make to the company.
Another purpose of the campaign is to bring together different national and international organizations to denounce the lack of a law banning mining in El Salvador and to push the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID, to rule in favour of Salvadoran State to deny an award of $ 301 million, for not having extended an exploitation license to the el Dorado project in 2008.
La Mesa and Oxfam also expressed concern that Pacific Rim was acquired, in November last year, by OceanaGold, an Australian based mining company with more capital, that could harm the interests of those affected by mining.
If ICSID rules in favor of the transnational corporation, we would have the possibility of other multinational companies launching law suits against El Salvador and so create more poverty for the country.