In Mining-Affected Communities, Water Is Becoming More Precious Than Gold

By Jen Moore : MiningWatch Canada

Latin America is slowly winning the fight against the corporate assault of transnational Canadian mining companies

El Salvador made history last month when it became the first country to ban metal mining outright.

In what’s become a decade-long annual rite of spring, activists descend on Barrick Gold’s annual general meeting in Toronto April 25 to shine a light on the Canadian mining giant’s litany of abuses abroad. But this year the odds are slowly turning in the fight against the multi-pronged corporate assault of transnational mining companies.

Last month, El Salvador made history, becoming the first country to ban metal mining outright, after a World Bank tribunal rejected last October a US$250 million lawsuit launched against the government by Canadian-Australian miner OceanaGold. The suit, filed in 2009 by OceanaGold predecessor Pacific Rim, based in Vancouver, alleged loss of potential profits after the company failed to meet regulatory requirements to receive a mining permit.

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In El Salvador, a moment more precious than gold

By Andrés McKinley : NCR

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, There are times in life when things come together, forces galvanize, pieces fall into place and processes take on a magical quality that keeps you wondering when the dream will end. That's what it felt like for those of us in the struggle against metallic mining, when legislators here finally found the political will to block an industry that threatened to rob this country of its future.

It was the most amazing week in the 12-year history of our struggle. And we owe much of the magic to the governor of a province called Nueva Vizcaya in the Philippines, on the other side of the world.

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How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban

* Yevgeniya Yatsenko and Sebastian Rosemont : Foreign Policy in Focus

U.S. environmentalists take note: El Salvador's activists proved that a national consensus on environmentalism can be forged one town at a time.

Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.

On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.

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Historic Wins for Democracy and Rights in El Salvador

Robin Broad and John Cavanagh : Ethics and International Affairs


Recently there have been two giant wins for democracy, human rights, and the environment in an unlikely spot: the small, embattled nation of El Salvador.

The most recent win was in March 2017, when the national legislature voted overwhelmingly to make El Salvador the first nation on earth to ban all metals mining, an activity that threatened that nation’s water supply. Who could have imagined an editorial in the New York Times entitled “El Salvador’s Historic Mining Ban” on April 2, 2017?1 The other win occurred six months earlier, in October 2016: After a seven-year battle, a World Bank Group-affiliated arbitration tribunal ruled unanimously against a global mining firm that sued El Salvador for not granting it a mining license.2 Global corporations have been winning most of the lawsuits in these so-called “investor-state” tribunals, but here again El Salvador prevailed.

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