P. Cabezas

mesaMembers of the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining demanded the immediate removal of Australian/Canadian OceanaGold mining company of El Salvador after the Attorney General's Office reported that the mining company Oceana Gold had paid the $ 8 million dollars awarded by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment disputes, ICSID.

“After the Legislative Assembly approved a law prohibiting mining exploration and exploitation, it makes no sense to maintain a company like Minerales Torogoz, OceanaGold's subsidiary in El Salvador, whose sole mandate is gold exploitation.” said Vidalina Morales, president of the Santa Marta Economic Development Association, during a press conference.

"We consider a mockery the fact that Minerales Torogoz continues to legally operate in  the department of Cabañas  after the moral, social and economic damage it caused in the communities.” she continued.   

OceanaGold’s subsidiary in Cabañas also published a press statement advising the public that it had paid the eight million dollars, plus interests, in legal costs; however, it announced in the same statement that the company will be transforming its activities to sustainable, agricultural enterprises.        

"The mining company refuses to leave the country; arguing that it would conduct alternative productive options and assures us that it will be dedicated to agricultural, entrepreneurship and sustainable living, as a result of agreements reached with the Attorney General's Office," said Morales, who was surprised to learn about the agreement between the mining company and the government.

According to Morales, the company seeks to stay with false arguments and promises in order to win support from the communities in the face of the upcoming 2018 legislative elections that could change the balance of power in the next Legislative Assembly.

This announcement has generated alarm in communities of Cabañas, as they consider the presence of the company a threat for the peace and wellbeing.  

The National Roundtable against Mining also asked the Attorney General's Office to make public a possible agreement with the mining company, beyond what was established in the arbitration award issued in October 2016.