Given the socio-environmental crisis in the country, we demand the Legislature discuss and approve the proposed Special Law to Ban Metallic Mining
In 2006, we presented to the Legislative Assembly a proposed ban on metallic mining that, to date, has not being discussed by the Committee on Environment and Climate Change. On the other hand, political parties such as former Party of National Conciliation, PCN, and business sectors as the Salvadoran Industrial Association, ASI, have lobbied for mining operations to be allowed back in the country. Although contamination resulting from heavy metals has been documented and targeted murders, in 2009, of opponents of the mining industry have occurred, the real debate about the implications of mining has been silenced in El Salvador.
The commitments made by ex President Antonio Saca, in 2008, and current President Mauricio Funes, in 2009, to stop mining projects are yet to materialize in a permanent mining ban. In the meantime, mining companies continue to sue our country in international corporate courts, demanding hundreds of millions of dollars, and death threats against members of the anti-mining resistance persist. Mining conflicts have also deepened in the Central American region, while the indifference of our own government to protect us from contamination stemming from neighboring countries remains, 49 projects along our borders have the potential to pollute our water, land and food.
The discussion and approval of the Special Law to Ban Metallic Mining we are submitting today to the Legislative Assembly is particularly urgent given the deterioration of our water sheds, the extreme vulnerability of our territory to natural disasters and the current kidney disease epidemic due to the indiscriminate use of agro-toxics. More than regulating mining, our proposal seeks to cancel all mining concessions granted to date and waive any applications made by mining companies. A voracious mining industry which destroys communities, dehydrates and pollutes territories in El Salvador is unviable and should be prohibited. Our proposal states that social interest should prevail over economic interest.
There are strong technical and scientific arguments that support the call we make for the prohibition of mining in El Salvador. This evidence should inform the political debate to preserve life and water, which is a common good that should not be used to favor the selfish interests of transnational corporations, and financial elites who profit from our natural resources.
We call on all political parties in the Legislature, especially those present in the Committee on the Environment and Climate Change, to initiate the discussion for the approval of the Special Law to Ban Metal Mining. It is your obligation to avoid the mistake made in the discussion of the General Water Law. This is also an opportunity to prevent another cause for the current epidemic of deaths by kidney failure caused by the indiscriminate use of agro-toxics.
We call on the Salvadoran population, at home and abroad, to join in one voice to demand the approval of this new Special Law to Ban Metallic Mining Ban.
We are still on time to avoid another disaster. No to mining ! Yes to life!
National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining