In response to Pacific Rim Mining Company's December 9 announcment of filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to arbitrate against the Salvadoran government under CAFTA for failing to grant mining exploitation permits, notable figures in Salvadoran civic and religious society have taken a stand against the mining company. On December 14 after a mass in the metropolitan cathedral, the Archbishop of San Salvador, Fernando Sáenz Lacalle criticized Pacific Rim, "It is not right to risk the health of the people and damage the environment so that a few who do not live here can take 97% of the juicy earnings but they leave us with 100% of the cyanide." His statement is consistent with those made by the participants of the Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in El Salvador in 2007, where the Bishops released a statement of opposition to gold and silver mining in El Salvador.
The Mesa de Minería, the Salvadoran national coalition of anti-mining groups, issued a press release following Pacific Rim's announcement. The Mesa urged people from all sectors of Salvadoran society to protest Pacific Rim Mining Company. The Mesa also promoted its most recent campaign, "I Reject Metallic Mining: Sign the Citizen's Letter," which demands that the Salvadoran president, Antonio Saca, not approve mining projects and calls for the Legislative Assembly endorse a law the prohibits metallic mining.
Click here to visit the Mesa de Minería's website and sign the Citizen's Letter against mining.
- Sara Skinner, SHARE Foundation