Gold for Export? … or Water & Food for Life?

The Case of Gold Mining in El Salvador
01 ဇန်နဝါရီလ 2013
Paper

With the rapid expansion of gold mining, social movements in many countries have gathered force to oppose the mining. Environmental concerns have been central to this opposition. But the opposition has grown into a larger critique of “what is development?” posing corporate-led export growth against peasant-led local agriculture.

With the rapid expansion of gold mining, social movements in many countries have gathered force to oppose the mining. Environmental concerns have been central to this opposition. But the opposition has grown into a larger critique of “what is development?” posing corporate-led export growth against peasant-led local agriculture. Based on the authors’ field-research in 2011, 2012 and 2013, this paper analyzes the case study of El Salvador where a strong peasantbased social movement has built a national-level coalition to the extent that the national government banned gold mining starting in 2009. The analysis then moves to the global level where two global mining companies have filed investor-rights suits against the Salvadoran government in the World Bank investors-rights tribunal (ICSID) claiming that the national government does not have the right to privilege the local, non-extractive economy. This case study of the struggle against mining in El Salvador reveals a great deal about the dynamics of “food sovereignty” struggles at a local, national, and global level, and provides a dynamic study to compare and contrast with other case studies of land-grabbing that pit local small-scale farmers and food and water needs against the transnational “grabbing” of land and mineral rights.

Dr. Robin Broad is Professor of International Development, School of International Service, American University. Dr. Broad has a wide range of professional experience, from international economist in the U.S. Treasury Department and Congress, to work with civil-society organizations in the Philippines and El Salvador. She received her MA. and PhD in development studies from Princeton University. She is author/coauthor of several books including Development Redefined: How the Market Met Its Match, and Global Backclash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy.

Food Sovereignty: a critical dialogue, 14 - 15 September, New Haven.

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