Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ad-Hoc Commission on Mining dissolves

In the Diario CoLatino, the Mesa Nacional Frente a la Mineria Metalica wrote an opinion piece on the dissolution of the Ad-Hoc Commission on Mining on March 19, 2009. The Commission was formed in the beginning of 2007 in order to discuss the proposal of a new mining law put together by the Canadian mining company, Pacific Rim, and presented by legislators from the PCN (National Conciliation Party) political party.

The Mesa Nacional Frente a la Mineria Metalica, an organization comprised of Christian communities and civil society groups against mining in El Salvador, attributed the dissolution of the group to the lack of support from the Executive Office in El Salvador and community resistance to mining. At the end of February, the current Salvadoran President Antonio Saca announced he would not grant mining companies extraction permits. President-elect Mauricio Funes has said throughout his campaign that he was against mining in El Salvador. Therefore, it does not make sense for the Legislative Assembly to promote projects that the the Executive Office will not implement.

Community resistance to mining also contributed to the dissolution of the Commission. Groups like the Mesa coupled with the clear stance of the Catholic Church and the Environmental Ministry have created serious road blocks for mining companies along the way.

So what does this mean for Pacific Rim's plan to arbitrate against the Salvadoran government for loss of potential profits? Can the Salvadoran government afford to pay for the lawsuit with Pacific Rim? Will Pacific Rim abandon the case?

What do you think?

To read the opinion piece, click here.

- Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

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