Press release: Wave of violence centered around Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining's gold project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 23, 2009
Contact: Alexis Stoumbelis, CISPES – 202-521-2510 ext. 205
2ndanti-mining activist killed in El Salvador
Wave ofviolence centered around Vancouver-based PacificRim Mining's gold project
Canadiancompany banking on legal case against Salvadorangovernment after 5 years of net losses
For the second time in six months, acommunity leader known for his strong opposition to a Canadian gold and silvermining project in El Salvador 's Cabañas Department has been killed. RamiroRivera, vice-president of the Environmental Committee of Cabañas, was gunneddown on Sunday, December 20, in the town of Ilobasco. This follows the lateJune kidnapping, torture and assassination of Marcelo Rivera (no relation) inthe municipality of San Isidro. Both men were vocal critics of Vancouver, B.C.,mining company Pacific Rim's proposed El Dorado mine.
Ramiro Rivera himself was previously shot eighttimes in a July assault, and had been under 24-hour police protection eversince. The Salvadoran Justice and Security Minister, Manuel Melgar, stated thatSunday's murder was “very probably” a “pre-meditated matter,” and not “aninstance of common crime.” Several other instances of assaults, attemptedkidnappings, and death threats against anti-mining activists in Cabañas havebeen documented over the last six months. While suspects await trial in some ofthose cases, no arrests have been made with respect to the “intellectualauthorship” of this wave of targeted, political violence.
The ongoing violence in Cabañas seems to becentered around the controversial presence of Pacific Rim Mining in the region,with prominent anti-mining leaders coming under attack. Operations at El Doradoare currently on hold, as the company has been denied extraction permits by theSalvadoran Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources. SalvadoranPresident Mauricio Funes also stated his opposition to the project during hiscampaign for office earlier this year.
In response, Pacific Rim opened an investor-statearbitration case against the Salvadoran government in April under theU.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Because Canada is not partyto the agreement, Pacific Rim filed the suit through its subsidiary, Pac RimCayman, based in Reno, Nevada. According to Pacific Rim CEO Thomas Shrake, thecompany is seeking “hundreds of millions” of dollars in the arbitration, whichis scheduled to begin in early 2010.
In November, Pacific Rim received notice from theNew York Stock Exchange that it is in danger of being delisted after postingnet losses for five straight years. On December 11, the company announced thatit will seek to generate some CDN $2.36 million by selling additional shares ofstock to finance its legal case against the Salvadoran government. The companydoes not have any other mining projects in operation.