Central America’s smallest nation El Salvador became first country in the world to ban metal mining nationwide. In this regard, it has passed a law that bans all mining for gold and other metals.
The law imposes broad prohibition on the extraction of minerals to protect the nation’s allegedly quite fragile environment, water reservoirs and reduce social tensions.
- The new law bans all exploration, extraction and processing of metals both in open pits and mines
- It bans the use of cyanide and mercury for mining.
- It does not apply to quarrying or the mining of coal, salt and other non-metallic resources.
According to UN, El Salvador is one of the most densely populated countries and second-most environmentally degraded in America after Haiti, making it sensitive to potential impact of large mining projects. The new mining ban law comes after a long-dragged dispute over a proposed gold mine by Pac Rim Cayman, a unit of Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold Corp over the environmental issue. In October 2016, El Salvador Government had won an international arbitration case filed by Pac Rim over a rejected licence to build gold mine in the country’s north. The international arbitration panel had rejected the company’s claim for compensation.