At the urging of Catholic leaders, El Salvador has passed a law banning metal mining nationwide, making the small Central American country the first in the world to outlaw the industry.
The new law, approved overwhelmingly by El Salvador’s congress on 29th March, orders the Economy Ministry to close existing mines while prohibiting the government from issuing new mining licenses. It gives small-scale and artisanal miners a two-year period to phase out production.
Mining had become highly contentious in the country of 6.3 million, as environmental groups protested the effects on water sources and soil contamination. Anti-mining groups have claimed that at least four people had died in mining conflicts.
‘Mission accomplished,’ said Congressman Guillermo Mata of the ruling party, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, on his Twitter account. ‘As a political party, we were the drivers, but the hard work was done by the social movements, the NGOs and the Church.’
Picture: Protesters in San Salvador, El Salvador, demonstrate against mining exploitation on 9th March. El Salvador passed a law on 29th March banning metal mining nationwide, making the small Central American country the first in the world to outlaw the industry.(CNS photo/Oscar Rivera, EPA).