In a matter of weeks, the World Bank could decide whether the tiny Central American nation of El Salvador will have to dish out millions of dollars to mining giant OceanaGold for rejecting its proposed gold mine. The $301 million lawsuit has been underway since 2014, and is soon to be decided on by the World Bank tribunal.
The World Bank tribunal is due to make a decision soon. As a public international institution, it is susceptible to public pressure. If we’re going to get it to throw out this case, we need to stand together and show how deeply unpopular this case is.
Allowing OceanaGold to go ahead with the mine, especially following draining $300 million from El Salvador, would be disastrous for those living there. It would pollute one of El Salvador’s last bit of clean water, something the people have been fighting tooth and nail to protect after decades of reckless industrial activity. Without clean drinking water, Salvadorians will be at increased risk of waterborne illness and food shortages.
Stopping the OceanaGold mine is not just about helping El Salvador. If OceanaGold gets its way it could continue a dangerous precedent, making it even easier for companies to sue countries when their laws or policies hurt profits. That’s why we’re also working hard to expose two shady international trade deals (TTIP and TISA) that would allow companies everywhere to do what OceanaGold is doing to El Salvador.
In this campaign, hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs members stood with El Salvador, and last year they delivered over 100,000 signatures to OceanaGold. According to their website, they also pressured AMP, a huge Australian investment fund and one of the largest investors in OceanaGold, to pressure the company into dropping the lawsuit.
If we’re to win this campaign, we’ve got to take it to the next level. The World Bank will be making a decision soon. We need to push to make sure the tribunal stands with the people of El Salvador and throws out this ludicrous lawsuit now, and it might not hard to show OceanaGold that people don’t appreciate their attempts at bullying.