(Ottawa) Nearly 150,000 people have already signed an online petition  directed at the Australian-Canadian firm OceanaGold urging it to drop its suit against El Salvador.

Secret hearings will begin on the case at a little known investment dispute tribunal housed at the World Bank in Washington, on Monday, September 15th.

OceanaGold bought into the suit when it purchased Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining at a firesale price last fall. Pacific Rim’s only project in recent years had been to punish El Salvador with legal proceedings for not having granted it a mine permit. The company is suing for $301 million, despite never having fulfilled the basic regulatory requirements to obtain a licence to build its El Dorado gold mine. The government of El Salvador has already spent millions fighting this case — money the tiny Central American country urgently needs for social programs and infrastructure.  READ MORE