Roadblocks to gold mining remain in place
An essay at Foreign Policy In Focus titled El Salvador's Gold Fight presents a viewpoint sympathetic to the efforts to block gold-mining in El Salvador. The article focuses on gold-mining company Pacific Rim and that company's arbitration against the government of El Salvador. Popular resistance to mining continues:
The combined effect of local resistance and religious backing had a decisive impact on government decision-making. With public opinion polls showing a clear majority in opposition to gold mining, and despite its initial enthusiasm for Pacific Rim's mining proposals, officials from the ruling conservative ARENA party refused to issue the company permits to begin extracting gold from underground deposits. In essence, the government ceased to acknowledge Pacific Rim's existence. Repeated complaints and applications for permits were filed by the company with government ministries, and promptly ignored.At the moment, El Salvador's government seems intent on resisting the promise of job creation and royalty revenues from gold mining and on giving credence to the spectre of environmental degradation portrayed by the protesters. There doesn't seem to be any force in the government aligning itself with the miners. With no one advocating for mining in El Salvador's government, it is hard to imagine mining permits being issued at any time during Mauricio Funes' term as president.
Since then, La Mesa has continued to push the envelope. Not trusting that government silence on the permits issue equaled support for their cause, the organization presented a bill for congressional consideration in 2006 that would ban all precious metal mining in El Salvador. While the bill was almost immediately withdrawn from deliberation, it wasn't forgotten. Shortly after Funes took power, the Frente Fabarundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (a left-wing opposition party, better known as the FMLN) resurrected the proposed legislation and presented it to El Salvador's National Assembly for a vote. According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, the proposed law would grant Pacific Rim and other foreign companies six months to discontinue operations before being ordered to leave the country.