Toronto (Canada), May 12 (EFE Noticias) .- The Ombudsperson for the Defense of the Rights of Environment of El Salvador, Yanira Cortez, began a tour of Canada today to talk about the case of OceanaGold mining corporation which has sued the Central American country for 301 million dollars for denying an operating permit.
Cortez and Marcos Galvez, president of the Salvadoran NGO CRIPDES will visit Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in the coming days for to seek support from Canadian social and trade union organizations against OceanaGold’s law suit.
Cortez also plans to meet with Canadian parliamentarians, but not with representatives of the Canadian government.
The Salvadoran Attorney told EFE that the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed no interest in meeting with her.
The case of OceanaGold, an Australian mining company with offices in Canada and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, dates back to 2009 when the Canadian company Pacific Rim filed a lawsuit against El Salvador before an arbitration tribunal of the World Bank (WB) for not allowing a license for the operation of the El Dorado project.
According Pacific Rim, the project, located in the department of Cabañas, in northern El Salvador, is a goldmine of great potential.
But successive Salvadoran authorities refused to grant the operating license for the El Dorado mine due to the threat the mine posed to drinking water supply for much of the north and environmental damage.
Pacific Rim’s demand, which must be settled by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), is 301 million dollars, which represents 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of El Salvador.
OceanaGold acquired Pacific Rim in 2013, saving it from bankruptcy and assuming the Canadian company's lawsuit against the Central American country.