El Salvador has become the first nation to completely ban mining in its dominion as the government on March 30 passed a new law prohibiting the mining of gold, silver, and other metals in an attempt to save the environment, water, and its own resources.
The smallest country in Central America – El Salvador – has approved a law prohibiting all metal mining in an attempt to protect the environment and natural resources. It is the first country in the world to do so.
The new law, supported by 70 lawmakers, bans all exploration, extraction, and processing of metals both in open pits and mines.
“It’s a historic day in El Salvador. It’s a historic day for the whole world,”, Environment Minister Lina Pohl told reporters after a vote in Congress, as quoted by the Financial Times.
“This is a brave step, an extraordinary step, and an enormous step toward reversing the environmental degradation in this country,” she added.
The level of environmental pollution in El Salvador is one of the highest in the region, second only to Haiti, and the availability of drinking water is the lowest, according to UN data.
“Mining is an industry whose primary and first victim is water. We are talking about an issue that is a life-or-death issue for the country,” said Andrés McKinley, a mining and water specialist at Central American University in San Salvador, as quoted by the New York Times.
The legislation was passed despite interest from international gold and silver mining companies. – Russia Today
While El Salvador may be the first nation to ban mining operations it is likely that in the future many more countries will follow suit as calls for environmental awareness overtake the world's demand for gold, iron, and other metals. And this of course will eventually lead to shortages that will cause these commodities to spike in price to try to sustain a global population that is nearing 7.5 billion.