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Peoples of the World Unite with El Salvador!

IPCM Secretariat, October 14, 2016

Peoples from mining-affected communities and their support organizations all over the world stand in solidarity with the people of El Salvador as they await the impending decision of  the World Bank’s International Centre for  Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on the  investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) filed by Canadian-Australian owned Oceanagold Corp. against the government of El Salvador. We are one in demanding that the decision must uphold and respect people’s sovereignty and patrimony over the interest of multinational mining corporations.



Photo: http://www.stopesmining.org/


In 2008, OceanaGold-owned Pacific Rim Mining Corp (PRMC) slapped a $301-million ISDS suit against the government of El Salvador following a national mining moratorium issued by the latter. At the time, PRMC’s operations in El Salvador covered 14, 407 hectares with high-grade gold and silver deposits. Because of the country’s severe water crisis caused by mining operations, El Salvador issued the mining moratorium to protect their nation’s remaining fresh water. In response, Pacific Rim sued El Salvador on allegations of losing profit over the revoked mining permit.

The people of El Salvador rose up in support of the moratorium in defence of their water and national sovereignty. To date, four brave comrades, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera Gómez, Felicita Echeverría, and Dora “Alicia” Recinos Sorto (who was eight months pregnant), have risked their lives in the struggle. These are the leaders who were active in the issue against Pacific Rim and murdered at the height of the anti-mining campaign.


Protest Rally in front of Oceanagold in the Philippines led by the Igorot tribe. Photo: Loi Manalansan


Owning billions of dollars of investments, Oceanagold started operations in the Macraes open pit gold mine in New Zealand in 1989, which displaced the indigenous Maori living in the area.  It then acquired the 37,000-hectare gold-copper mine project of Climax Arimco Mining Co. in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines in 1997, leading to reports of massive environmental degradation, human rights abuses, and the pollution of waterways and agricultural lands in the area. As a result of the untiring people’s resistance, however, the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had recommended only a few weeks ago the suspension of  Oceanagold’s operations in the area.


More recently OceanaGold acquired the Haile Gold Mine Project in South Carolina, USA.


Protest actions have been held  in host and project countries particularly in Australia, Canada, El Salvador, the Philippines, and the United States. Yesterday, the Igorot tribe from North Luzon journeyed all the way from the Cordilleras to the national capital, Manila, to urge the Philippine Government to permanently close Oceanagold as it pollutes and contaminates their water and land.

Today, while solidarity actions are being organized in different parts of the world in time for the ISDS decision, the people in Canada will hear it live on the streets as they gather with standing ground against corporate bullying. This call also resonates to 148 organizations in 30 countries across the world under the International People’s Mining Conference.


The processes leading to the World Bank decision have allowed the world to see the vast powers multinational corporations hold within international tribunal courts over what should be sovereign nations. The ISDS mechanism is now being exposed as a help line for MNCs to recoup investments  at the expense of not just lives, clean water, and a healthy environment, but also national sovereignty and the right of peoples to dictate their own development.


Whatever the decision released today by the ISDS, the peoples of the world  will not stop in our unwavering struggle and international solidarity against plunder and oppression inflicted by large multinational mining corporations. Long live international solidarity!



Rally in support of El Salvador in front of the World Bank ICSID Tribunal, March 2015. Photo: www.ciel.org