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Canadian company to use CAFTA against El Salvador

The Miami Herald reports that, “Canadian mining company Pacific Rim will take the Salvadoran government to international arbitration court for alleged losses caused by government ‘inaction’ due to permit delays for what would be El Salvador’s biggest mine to date.”

“The case is among the first international investment disputes under the Central American Free-Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, which eliminated barriers to trade and laid ground rules for such disputes.”

“The (Vancouver) company’s Nevada-based subsidiary filed a notice of intent to pursue international arbitration against the Salvadoran government in December, which the company plans to file in a matter of weeks…”

“The company has been waiting for four years for final permits for the underground gold mine, which faces staunch opposition from Salvadoran environmentalists and church leaders as the first large-scale mine in 70 years in Central America’s smallest country.”

Rodolfo Calles, a coordinator for the Church-funded organization Caritas, a fierce anti-mining group, says “El Salvador is very small and all mining projects are near the Lempa River, which is the country’s main water source.”

The article explains that, “The 320-kilometer Lempa is one of Central America’s longest, snaking through Guatemala and Honduras before flowing into El Salvador’s Pacific. With a basin that covers half of El Salvador, the river irrigates the country’s farming industry and supplies drinking water to more than half of residents in greater San Salvador.”

The Spanish-language website for Caritas de El Salvador is at http://www.caritaselsalvador.org/Paginas/Index.htm.

The full Miami Herald article is at http://www.miamiherald.com/103/story/1018403.html

Thank you to Rick Arnold of Common Frontiers for sharing this article with us.