Monday, October 20, 2014
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EL SALVADOR
Threatened by mining
12/10/2008
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Social organizations and religious leaders campaign against mining.

Social organizations symbolically buried Canadian miner Pacific Rim in San Salvador´s Morazán Plaza to protest mining activities in their areas.

Pacific Rim — along with other companies — is awaiting a green light from the government to approve gold and silver drilling in its El Dorado mine in the San Isidro community, some 65 kilometers from the capital.

There are currently 29 precious metal projects in northern El Salvador, most near the Lempa, Sumpul, Grande de San Miguel, Torola and Goascaran Rivers.

There has not been metallic mining in the country for many years, and now the companies which have exploration projects are waiting for the parliament to approve a law on mining licenses.

Participants in the anti-mining campaign, called by the Mesa Nacional Frente a la Minería Metálica — an umbrella group of social, environmental and civil society organizations to address metallic mining — are collecting signatures for a letter to be sent to President Antonio Saca, rejecting mining because of its detrimental effects on health and the environment.

A recent study by the Center for Research on Investment and Trade, or CEICOM, entitled “Impacts on Agriculture Production In Mining Zones In the Context of the Food Crisis,” found that mining in seven departments — Santa Ana, Chalatenango, San Salvador, Cabañas, Morazán, San Miguel and La Union — is threatening food production as almost 47 percent of the country’s basic grains are produced there.

The study said that El Salvador´s government has granted concessions totaling more than 1,238 square kilometers for mining companies, mostly Canadian and US miners, “in areas where a large quantity of cereals, dairy products, meat, vegetables and fruit” are produced by campesino farmers.

“The production is especially threatened by the intensive use of water in the separation of the metals and by air, water and soil contamination caused by cyanide, heavy metals and acid runoff,” the Mesa Nacional says.

The Catholic Episcopal Conference of El Salvador last year issued a formal statement against mining called “Let’s Protect Everyone´s Home.”

“The experience in our brother and neighboring countries where the exploitation of gold and silver has been permitted is truly sad and unfortunate. The bishops of those nations have raised their voices. We also want to speak out, before it’s too late.”
—Latinamerica Press.


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