Timeline of the campaign against Pacific Rim's El Dorado gold mine in El Salvador

Brent Patterson
8 years ago

With a presidential election taking place in El Salvador in February 2014 and the decision of an international arbitration panel expected in the second half of 2014, it may be helpful now to look back at the timeline of the controversial Pacific Rim mine proposal.

2008

May
The Council of Canadians/ Blue Planet Project begins to follow the situation of Vancouver-based Pacific Rim, through its US subsidiary, suing El Salvador for $77 million under the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) for not allowing their El Dorado gold mine to proceed because of environmental concerns.
Read more »

2009

December
We noted the murder of Dora 'Alicia' Recinos Sorto, an opponent of the Pacific Rim mine. This followed the killings of two other prominent anti-mining activists that year: Ramiro Rivera who was shot dead in an ambush on December 20 and Marcelo Rivera who was disappeared, tortured, and ultimately found dead in June.
Read more »

2011

June
We noted that yet another opponent of the mine had been murdered. This time it was Juan Francisco Durán Ayala.
Read more »

December
We were among 243 organizations that endorsed an open letter that stated: "Pacific Rim is using the World Bank's International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and the investor-state rules in a free trade agreement to subvert a democratic nationwide debate over mining and sustainability in El Salvador."
Read more »

December
At a protest outside the Canadian embassy in San Salvador, this statement from Maude Barlow was read to those assembled: "I am sending you a message of solidarity and gratitude from Canada for your courageous stance against the big corporate bully, Pacific Rim. El Salvador has made the right choice in refusing to grant Pacific Rim a permit for its cyanide-leach gold mine."
Read more »

2012

April
We highlighted that a right to to water law could further protect El Salvador from the destruction associated with major mining projects.
Read more »

June
A World Bank arbitration panel ruled that CAFTA could not be used to pursue the challenge, but decided that the case can still be pursued under the national investment law in El Salvador in a process that will be overseen by the ICSID.
Read more »

June
We organized the 'Shout Out Against Mining Injustice' conference in Vancouver. The conference featured Vidalina Morales de Gámez, a member of The National Roundtable against Metallic Mining in El Salvador (La Mesa). At that time we also marched to the Pacific Rim office and held a protest with about 175 people.
Read more »

October
We began distributing an action alert by the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) in solidarity with those fighting Pacific Rim in El Salvador. Trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote: "No investors from any country should have the right to trump democratic decisions and environmental regulations on mining or energy projects."
Read more »

2013

March
Twelve Council of Canadians chapters - Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops, Guelph, London, Ottawa, Peterborough, Toronto, Halifax, South Shore, North Shore, and Fredericton - helped to organize public events for a public speaking tour with Vidalina Morales de Gamez and Sandra Carolina Ascencio from La Mesa.
Read more »

April
Pacific Rim's US subsidiary filed a US$315 million damage claim against El Salvador.
Read more »

May
Blue Planet Project campaigner Meera Karunananthan visited El Salvador participating in an international fact-finding mission on mining and water. This mission included 45 international delegates from 12 different countries and 22 organizations.
Read more »

June
Karunananthan wrote in the Guardian UK that El Salvador’s battle to protect its water by becoming the first country to ban metal mining could have a wide-ranging resonance.
Read more »

November
Pacific Rim shareholders approved the sale of their company to Australian-based OceanGold for $10.2 million. While OceanGold is headquartered in Melbourne, it is owned by a holding company registered in British Columbia and is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. We participated in a joint media release that stated the deal means more punishment for El Salvador.
Read more »