Cdn. PacRim Mining & El Salvadorian Rights

Cdn. PacRim Mining & El Salvadorian Rights

Postby Oscar » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:43 am

Empowering People and Protecting Rights in El Salvador: Resistance to Pacific Rim Mining Company

[ http://ciel.org/HR_Envir/PacRim_Home.html ]

Summer 2014

Communities worldwide are concerned about how mining impacts their local environment and human rights. In El Salvador, the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation (Pac Rim) has attempted to bypass El Salvador’s environmental protection laws using investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) to sue the country for $77 million USD – as of July 2014 now more than $300 million USD – under the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). El Salvador has upheld a nationally-supported mining moratorium and is now defending itself against the Pac Rim allegations. But how long will that moratorium last and at what cost to the people of El Salvador?

With help from CIEL and other international allies, the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (La Mesa), a coalition of civil society organizations that have opposed the introduction of industrial scale metal mining in the country, is raising awareness in El Salvador that Pac Rim does not have the social license to operate.

Pac Rim History
While the Salvadoran government performed a strategic environmental impact assessment (SEIA), the government has refused to grant permits for extraction at Pac Rim’s El Dorado project. Since then:

MORE:

[ http://ciel.org/HR_Envir/PacRim_Home.html ]
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CIEL joins protest against World Bank Group ICSID

Postby Oscar » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:50 am

CIEL joins protest against World Bank Group ICSID

[ http://action.ciel.org/o/50118/t/0/blas ... EY=1296076 ]

September 15, 2014

On September 15th, an international tribunal began hearing arguments in the case of Pacific Rim vs. El Salvador – a case that will affect millions of Salvadoran people. At issue is whether the government and people of El Salvador should have to pay $301 million USD for upholding the nation’s social and environmental protections – in this case by refusing to allow Canada-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation to operate a mine that does not satisfy requirements under Salvadoran law.

Outside the tribunal, CIEL joined a broad coalition from labor, environment, immigrant, faith, and trade sectors on September 15th to protest the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) as it began deliberating the merits of the case. [ http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/09/world-ba ... g-dispute/ ]

Trade and investment laws that the US has championed in recent decades (and continues to actively promote in the US-EU trade negotiations) allow corporations to sue governments when companies believe their future profits are threatened by government actions. Investor-state arbitration is an affront to democracy, allowing companies to blackmail States for implementing environmental and human rights policies in the public interest, and it is an extortion tactic being replicated around the globe.

In El Salvador, Pacific Rim received an exploration license in 2009, but as popular resistance to the potential toxic threats of mining grew, the government began a process to evaluate the impacts of mining. Pacific Rim, which had never been granted an extraction license, then sued El Salvador.

CIEL has supported the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in submitting amicus briefs to support El Salvador’s position. [ http://ciel.org/wordpress_211560016/?p=1681 ] These amicus briefs argue that the dispute was actually the expression of Pacific Rim's dissatisfaction with the democratic processes in El Salvador around environmental protection and sustainable development. The briefs also argued that El Salvador’s actions had to be viewed in light of human rights and environmental law, which requires the State to adopt a robust environmental legal framework to protect the rights of persons threatened by risky activities, such as mining. The briefs also show how the presence of Pacific Rim in the country has resulted in violence against environmental defenders; four members of the anti-mining community have been killed.

There are many critiques of the ICSID. One is that the tribunal operates in near total secrecy. Another is that one of the central issues debated in the hearing concerns the application of El Salvador's internal law; however, none of the tribunal members are steeped in Salvadoran law.

Salvadorans are firm in their resolve in saying “yes to life and no to mining.” Pacific Rim, however, has not reconsidered its destructive mining project. In 2013, OceanaGold acquired Pacific Rim, providing it with the money needed to pay its legal bills and continue the lawsuit.

The case of Pacific Rim vs. El Salvador will have lasting ramifications. Already, we have seen governments cave to mining interests over just the threat of an investor-state lawsuit, such as in Guatemala where the government refused to suspend operations at the Marlin mine per the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights citing a fear of investor-state arbitration. Meanwhile, some States are withdrawing support for investor-state arbitration or are refusing to sign new trade agreements that include this provision to ensure that corporate profits cannot supersede domestic law.


While mining companies hope for an outcome that opens the door wide for further corporate extortion, millions of Salvadorans – joined by millions more people internationally – remain firm in the belief that $301 million would be far better spent on education, health services and public works, rather than paying off a corporation that never met the requirements to operate under Salvadoran law.

The case will continue to be deliberated in the coming months, with a decision likely in early 2015. We will keep you posted.

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[ http://ciel.org/HR_Envir/PacRim_Home.html ]
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Re: Cdn. PacRim Mining & El Salvadorian Rights

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:32 pm

OceanaGold told to leave El Salvador and the Philippines at meeting in Toronto

[ http://canadians.org/media/oceanagold-t ... ng-toronto ]

Media Release June 9, 2016

( NOTE: Pacific Rim Mining was bought by OceanaGold in 2013:
[ http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20131009/p ... tgx0wp.pdf ] - Ed.)


(Toronto/Ottawa) Today, during OceanaGold’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Toronto, company shareholders were asked to scrutinize company claims regarding supposed benefits for affected communities in El Salvador and the Philippines.

“It just doesn’t add up. OceanaGold is not acting in the interest of communities in El Salvador when it sues the country for USD $250 million over a mine permit that it has never met the regulatory requirements to obtain,” remarked Rachel Small from the Council of Canadians in Toronto.

A decision is expected shortly over this suit from the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The case, [ https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... ttip-icsid ] which has dragged on for seven years, has already cost El Salvador over USD $12 million in legal costs; enough for a year’s worth of adult literacy classes for roughly 330,000 people. [ http://justinvestment.org/2012/02/the-c ... alvador-1/ ]

“OceanaGold’s claims don’t compute. The company insists that mining is good for the country, but Salvadorans have been remarkably clear that this is not their desired option for future generations in their densely populated and already water-stressed country,” said Jim Hodgson from the United Church of Canada.

Since 2008, three successive Salvadoran presidents have committed not to issue new mining permits. A 2015 opinion poll found that opposition to metal mining is nearly 79.5% nationwide and 83.9% in municipalities affected by OceanaGold’s El Dorado project. [ http://www.diariocolatino.com/el-77-de- ... ica-iudop/ ]

“The activities of the company’s El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador do not compensate for the bullying of the last seven years. Worse, this sort of so-called corporate philanthropy could compound social divisions and contribute to further violence against local community activists, as has already taken place,” said Jen Moore of MiningWatch Canada, co-author of a recent report about the activities of the El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador. [ http://miningwatch.ca/news/2016/3/23/re ... -el-dorado ]

Between 2009 and 2011, four environmental activists were murdered in Cabañas, El Salvador. More recently, several local organizations have received threats. These crimes have never been fully investigated.

“It is particularly shameful that OceanaGold is using its experience at the Didipio mine in the Philippines to try to pitch this project to Salvadorans when, based on what we have seen on the ground in Nueva Vizcaya, this project’s legacy is one of community displacement, broken promises, and environmental degradation,” said Connie Sorio for KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

A statement [ http://miningwatch.ca/sites/default/fil ... ne2016.pdf ] from the Filipino coalition Alyansa Tigil Mina prepared in time for OceanaGold's AGM stated the demand from local organizations in Nueva Vizcaya that are calling for OceanaGold's operations to stop and for their lands to be rehabilitated, given impacts on water supplies and farmlands. The Incoming Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, Carlos M. Padilla, also issued an open letter reiterating the call for OceanaGold to pull out, emphasizing how the costs of the company's open-pit mine far outweigh scarce benefits. [ http://miningwatch.ca/sites/default/fil ... 2016_0.pdf ] - 30 -

Contacts:
• Jim Hodgson, United Church of Canada, jhodgson@united-church.ca, 416-231-5931 x4013
• Jen Moore, MiningWatch Canada, jen@miningwatch.ca, 613-569-3439
• Rachel Small, Council of Canadians, rsmall@canadians.org, 647-769-2472
• Connie Sorio, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, csorio@kairoscanada.org, 416-463-5312 x240
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Re: Cdn. PacRim Mining & El Salvadorian Rights

Postby Oscar » Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:41 pm

OceanaGold told to leave El Salvador and the Philippines at meeting in Toronto

[ http://canadians.org/blog/oceanagold-to ... ng-toronto ]

June 9, 2016 - 5:55pm

Activists gathered outside of OceanaGold's shareholder meeting in downtown Toronto today at a rally organized by the Council of Canadians, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, MiningWatch Canada, and the United Church of Canada. The Canadian mining company has faced controversy for its decision to sue El Salvador for US$250 million at a World Bank tribunal when the company failed to obtain a mining permit for which it never met regulatory requirements. As a result, over the past seven years, the tiny financially-strapped nation has been forced to divert over $12 million dollars from economic development, job creation and violence prevention, merely to pay to defend itself.

Failing to respect the clear 'no' to metal mining, OceanaGold is bullying El Salvador with its suit while trying to get its foot in the door through the El Dorado Foundation. OceanaGold created this company-sponsored foundation at the local level in an attempt to rebrand the proposed mine. This is deceitful, disrespectful and dangerous.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, OceanaGold’s large-scale gold mining operations in the village of Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya province have also been the source of years of protest. Filipino organizations have been denouncing the illegal demolition of homes in 2008 to make way for the company's tailings pond and contamination of the Didipio River and adjacent water bodies. Loss of water supplies, displacement and respiratory illness are among further complaints.

Council of Canadians organizer Rachel Small went inside the shareholder meeting and made the following statement to the shareholders, management, and executive team present.

"My name is Rachel Small and I work with the Council of Canadians.

In 2013 Oceana took on an expensive drawn-out legal battle suing El Salvador for $250 million USD over a mine permit that it has never met the regulatory requirements to obtain.

El Salvadorans meanwhile have been very clear that they do not want mining to proceed in their densely populated and already water-stressed country. 98% of the country’s freshwater supplies are heavily polluted. The proposed Oceana Gold mine would threaten the watershed that provides drinking water for two thirds of the population. An overwhelming majority of Salvadorans want to see a permanent ban on metal mining – over 80% of the population as confirmed by a 2015 national poll.

Oceana Gold’s lawsuit is an effort to bully the Salvadoran people who are setting their own economic and environmental agenda free from destructive metal mining projects. Many are also looking to the company’s take on corporate philanthropy through its El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador as a further attempt to increase social divisions and contribute to further violence against local community activists. Between 2009 and 2011, four environmental activists were murdered in Cabañas, El Salvador. More recently, several local organizations have received threats. These crimes have never been fully investigated.

A decision in this case will be announced shortly. El Salvador, a small impoverished Central American country of 6 million inhabitants, has already spent over 12 million USD in legal fees– an amount that could go a long way towards providing basic services to reduce poverty. For example, that amount could provide two years of adult literacy classes for 140,000 people. 250 million would have devastating effects on the economy.

Many in El Salvador are looking at the Philippines for further evidence of why the proposed mine will not benefit their country. Local organizations in Nueva Vizcaya, where OceanaGold’s Didipio mine is located, are calling for OceanaGold's operations to stop and for their lands to be rehabilitated, given impacts on water supplies and farmlands. The Incoming Governor of Nueva Vizcaya, Carlos M. Padilla, also issued an open letter reiterating the call for OceanaGold to pull out, emphasizing how the costs of the company's open-pit mine far outweigh scarce benefits. In 2012 two environmental activists who opposed the mining project, Cheryl Ananayo and Randy Nabayay, were assassinated.

Salvadorans are preventing their communities from experiencing the kind of environmental devastation and displacement faced by communities impacted by the Didipio mine in the Philippines.

OceanaGold has repeatedly claimed that its mining project will be good for El Salvador and for communities near the mine. Given the terrible precedent of violence, displacement and contamination in the Philippines, the lack of consent from people of El Salvador, and the negative impacts Oceana Gold’s lawsuit has already had in El Salvador, I would like to know how you back up this claim."


The CEO responded by saying all of the claims made in the statement were "spurious", even as the protestors outside the building could be heard yelling "OceanaGold lies!".

Media statement here.
[ http://canadians.org/media/oceanagold-t ... ng-toronto ]

Rachel Small's blog
Council of Canadians Organizer
[ http://canadians.org/blogs/rachel-small ]
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