International news within the industry of mining and metal, Jun, 26 2019
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Transnational mining companies are gaining ground in Central America

Mina La Libertad in Nicaragua. The mining company Santa Fe says that one of their main interests is safety, which is why the project is a leader in health, occupational and environmental safety. Santa Fe exceeded the goal of zero accidents for every 200 000 hours of exposure. Photo: credit: Grupo Santa Fe
Mina La Libertad in Nicaragua. The mining company Santa Fe says that one of their main interests is safety, which is why the project is a leader in health, occupational and environmental safety. Santa Fe exceeded the goal of zero accidents for every 200 000 hours of exposure. Photo: credit: Grupo Santa Fe
Published by
Markku Björkman - 25 Mar 2019

The operations of transnational mining companies have accelerated in recent decades in many Central American countries.

El Salvador denied all excavation in March 2017, but in other countries, the dispute continues. 

The Canadian company Tahoe Resources set up a silver mine in El Escobal with a population of 9,000 inhabitants. 

The mine was transferred to the ownership of another Canadian company, Pan American Silver, in January, but it has been banned from summer 2017. 

Central America also includes Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. The area is slightly larger than Spain and has a population of 48 million.

In recent decades, the operation of supranational mining companies has accelerated alongside Guatemala in other Central American countries, especially in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. El Salvador made history by denying all excavations in March 2017, but in other countries, the dispute continues.

- Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua have adopted laws to promote mining instead of bans, says Nicaraguan researcher Angélica Alfaro.

A report by the NGO organizations indicates that by the beginning of 2017, 172 permits were issued for mining in Honduras. They cover an area of 7,275 square kilometres, which is 6.5 per cent of the country's surface area.

There were 55 licenses in Guatemala, covering 4,143 square kilometres, or 3.8 per cent of the area.

By May 2017, Nicaragua had issued 146 mining permits, and there are still 20 mining permits. They cover a total of 11,143 square kilometres or 8.6 per cent of the area.

El Salvador, which subsequently banned its operation, had 31 mining permits in 2006, covering 1,088 square kilometres and 5.2 per cent of the surface area.