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El Salvador makes history as first nation to impose blanket ban on metal mining

March 30, 2017

El Salvador makes history as first nation to impose blanket ban on metal mining

Nina Lakhani in Mexico City
Thursday 30 March 2017 12.49 BST

El Salvador has made history after becoming the first country in the world to ban metal mining.

Lawmakers in the water-parched country passed the ban in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, declaring El Salvador a mining-free territory.

The decision followed a long and bitter struggle to protect the Central American country’s diminishing water sources from polluting mining projects.

Campaigners holding banners with the now famous “No to mining, yes to life” slogan celebrated inside and outside the legislative assembly in the capital, San Salvador.

“The vote is a victory for communities who, for more than a decade, have relentlessly organised to keep mining companies out of their territories. The prohibition ensures the long-term ecological viability of a country already considered one of the most environmentally vulnerable in the world,” said Pedro Cabezas, from International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador.

Wednesday’s vote, which was expected by both sides to be much closer, builds on a rising tide of popular opposition to environmentally destructive projects across Latin America, where partial bans have been implemented in Costa Rica, Argentina and Colombia.

El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Latin America and, while rainfall is plentiful, holding on to the water is a major issue because of unsustainable farming practices and inadequate industrial controls that have led to widespread soil erosion and the almost total destruction of its forests.

Read more at The Guardian.

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