La Mesa releases a memoir of their collective struggle to ban mining in El Salvador

portada mesaCLICK THE PHOTO TO DOWNLOAD REPORT IN SPANISHOn the fourth anniversary of the historic ban on metal mining in El Salvador, the National Roundtable Against metallic mining of El Salvador released a report that documents the events and strategies that led to the historic ban on metal mining in El Salvador.  

Seen from the perspective of the activists who let the local struggle against mining, the document starts with a historical background of mining companies in El Salvador, the resistance against a series of mining projects that began operating unannounced in communities in the early 2000s, the resistance of the communities that led to the acts of violence and assassination of 5 environmentalists in Cabañas and the strategies these communities utilized to forge a robust national and international movement against metal mining in the country.

After learning that metal mining in neighboring countries had caused environmental degradation, the loss of biodiversity and sources of water, and more importantly, damages to human health, organizations in the country sought to build national alliances with universities, NGOs and the church to counter the deceit (jobs and development) that companies were utilizing to sell their projects. The struggle took international dimensions when two companies, Commerce Group and Pacific Rim (later acquired by OceanaGold), decided to sue the government of El Salvador at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes ICSID.  The support of international organizations helped find technical deficiencies in the arguments of mining companies, and also helped bridge the active participation of members of the MNFM in the presentation of an Amicus Curiae at the ICSID and in numerous international solidarity actions across the world. When the struggle took a violent turn, it was international organizations who helped members of la mesa navigate the international human rights system and helped to echo the calls for justice to the international public opinion.     

Despite of the success of the campaign and the fact that the mining prohibition has been in force for the last four years, La Mesa affirms that there has been no commitment on the part of the Salvadoran State to implement the law. In particular, the report points to a government´s debt with communities affected by mining: they still face the impacts of acid drainage in abandoned mines, there has not been an effort to provide incentives for artisanal miners to convert to more sustainable occupations, reparations for families that were victims of mining violence have not been issued, no efforts  have been made to conduct environmental remediation to 15 abandoned mines classified as “environmental passives”, and no steps have been taken to protect local watersheds from cross border mining projects.   

The report closes demanding that the current government of Nayib Bukele guarantee that the mining prohibition will not be reversed and that the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), and the Ministry of Economy (MINEC) develop regulations to implement the decision of the Salvadoran people not to allow the metal mining industry in the country.

The law on the right to water reaches Parliament, "people's lives are at stake" warns Cardinal Rosa Chavez


primopiano 12610Salvadoran Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chávez, in his usual Sunday press conference, said he hopes that the initiative of the water law that the government will present contains the progress made in the proposal supported and elaborated by the Catholic Church and environmental organizations.

"We hope that it will not remain in the garbage, because it is something highly developed, so that people have water as a fundamental human right", underlined the Cardinal.

In recent days, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele announced that the issue of water will be discussed in the Legislative Assembly and spoke of a particular project.

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Why Canada is at the centre of global mining atrocities


Samantha Ponting

Screen Shot 2021 06 16 at 13.54.39“I was born and lived more than half my life in Lepanto, the location of the Lepanto Consolidated mine,” said Chandu Claver, an Indigenous land defender, in a recorded presentation to attendees of the April 19 virtual launch of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – Toronto chapter (ICHRP-Toronto).

According to Claver, the Filipino mining company Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation has worked closely with the Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. over the past 20 years— and the environmental impact of their operations have been devastating.

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Peru miners fall amid uncertainty over tight presidential election

Minería Panamericana

Mineras en Perú caen en medio de incertidumbre por ajustada elección presidencialPeruvian mining companies were among the hardest hit in a broad wave of sales driven by the close presidential race in which Pedro Castillo (Peru Libre), the rural school teacher who promises to redistribute wealth, took a slight advantage over Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza Popular). Peru is a country with 32 million inhabitants.

The Peruvian currency fell back to a record low, weakening by 2.2% to 3,925 per dollar, while the General Index S&P / BVL Peru fell 6.9% at 1:12 p.m. In New York. The yield on Peru's 10-year dollar bonds rose 15 points to 2.81% and the price fell 1.2 cents to 99.6 cents on the dollar. Five-year credit default swaps increased 7 basis points to 97 points.

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In Guatemala, Harris Should Address U.S. Policies That Put Corporations Over People


Jen Moore and Ellen Moore

GettyImages 1314611192 kamala guatemala croppedVice President Kamala Harris in a virtual bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on April 26, 2021. As the Vice President seeks to remedy root causes of migration, she should vow to dismantle neoliberal rules that have been devastating for rural and Indigenous peoples. In Guatemala, Harris Should Address U.S. Policies That Put Corporations Over People. As the Vice President seeks to remedy root causes of migration, she should vow to dismantle neoliberal rules that have been devastating for rural and Indigenous peoples.

Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Guatemala this week to discuss solutions to the poverty, violence, and corruption that are among the driving forces of migration. Contributing to these drivers are neoliberal arrangements, such as the Central America–Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which have been imposed on Guatemalans. This framework favors the development of large-scale mining and energy projects that are devastating to the well-being of rural communities and Indigenous peoples, while allowing private corporations to sue governments over hard-fought social and environmental protections.

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Reactivation of Cerro Blanco Mining Project

Guatemala Network Solidarity

Kevo Dell

CerroBlancogoldprojectGuatemalaBluestoneResources 480x385In a series of tweets, in Spanish, The Extractive Industries Observatory (El Observatorio de Industrias Extractivas – OIE) has introduced a thread about the Cerro Blanco mining project in Jutiapa, and its re-opening by Bluestone Resources.

The OIE was created with the intention of contributing data on the extractive industry in Guatemala from an independent perspective. Their intention is to create an information platform with different levels of disaggregated data.

The Cerro Blanco mining project, located in Jutiapa and with almost ten years of no mining activity, is back in the news after announcing its reactivation. Why is it important for us to be informed about this case? We explain more in this first thread:

According to MadreSelva, Bluestone Resources, the company that owns the mine, scheduled a meeting with Cerro Blanco residents on May 1 to announce not only its reactivation, but also a change of plans: the project will change from an underground mine to an open pit project.

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