San Salvador (Agenzia Fides) - The Congress of El Salvador yesterday, 29 March, approved a law banning metal mining in the country. The bill was passed by 69 votes in favour out of 84 in total and had broad support from the Catholic Church, Caritas El Salvador and the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA).
According to information sent to Fides, the law seeks to prohibit all metal mining projects, in a bid to protect the Central American nation's environment and natural resources. The new law blocks all exploration, extraction and processing of metals, whether in open pits or underground. It also prohibits the use of toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.
In October 2016, El Salvador won a case against gold mining giant OceanaGold. The Archbishop of San Salvador, His Exc. Mgr. José Luis Escobar Alas, during the press conference said: "The present mining law is extremely outdated and puts us at risk, it makes the nation vulnerable".
In support of the bill now approved, more than 30,000 signatures were collected, which were delivered to the parliamentaries on March 9 by Archbishop Escobar Alas. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 30/03/2017)