El Salvador becomes first country to ban metals mining

Sandra Cuffe: Mongabay 

Legislators in El Salvador made history Wednesday, passing a bill to ban all metallic mining activities in the country.

The results of the much-anticipated vote were unanimous: 69 in favor, none against, and no abstentions. Fifteen of the country’s 84 lawmakers did not show up for the vote.

The result “makes tiny El Salvador the unlikely hero in a global movement to put the brakes on a modern day ‘gold rush’,” MiningWatch Canada wrote in a statement Thursday. The Central American nation is the first country in the world to ban mining for gold and other metals, according to the industry watchdog group.

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El Salvador Passes Historic Law To Ban Metal Mining

Sebastian Rosemont: Huffinton Post

The vote marked the culmination of a decade of pressure from activists, environmentalists and the Catholic church.

In an historic vote, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to ban metal mining. On Wednesday, March 29, the Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to approve the Law to Ban Metal Mining, which prohibits all mining activities from exploration to extraction to processing.

Despite last minute lobbying by one of the country’s largest mining interests, all 70 present members of the assembly voted in favor of the ban. It now heads to President Salvador Sánchez Cerén’s desk who has said he will sign it.

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El Salvador Votes for Water over Gold

By P. Cabezas & Sebastian Rosemont

In response to enormous public pressure, lawmakers have rejected appeals by global corporations and voted to protect the country’s people and water supply by banning metallic mining.  

The people of El Salvador and their international allies against irresponsible mining are celebrating a historic victory. After a long battle against global mining companies that were determined to plunder the country’s natural resources for short-term profits, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly has voted to ban all metal mining projects.

The new law is aimed at protecting the Central American nation’s environment and natural resources. Approved on March 29 with the support of 69 lawmakers from multiple parties (out of a total of 84), the law blocks all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

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Political parties give assurances that they will support the prohibition of Metal Mining

Beatriz Calderón / ACAN-EFE

A march led by archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas arrived at the Legislature demand the prohibition of metal mining.  

A group of Salvadorans marched today to demand that the Legislature approve a law prohibiting metal mining in El Salvador at a demonstration convened by the Archbishop´s Office and headed by Archbishop of San Salvador Jose Luis Escobar Alas himself.

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