WHAT: A Salvadoran activist will be in Peterborough to garner support from Canadians for a campaign to make El Salvador the first country to ban metal mining. The event is part of a continent-wide Water Is More Precious than Gold speaking tour that is raising awareness about the negative impact of Canadian mining operations on El Salvador.
WHO: The event features Vidalina Morales, a representative from the El Salvadoran National Roundtable against Metallic Mining (the Mesa). Since 2006, the Mesa has brought together hundreds of communities and thousands of people from across El Salvador, including environmental, community-based, research, legal and religious organizations, to successfully halt mining operations in the country and to call for a ban on metal mining.
WHEN & WHERE: The Water Is More Precious than Gold public forum in Peterborough will be held at St. James United Church, 221 Romaine St. on Wednesday, March 20 at 7pm. The tour is holding events in 20 cities across Canada and the US (full list of cities and dates below), including Vancouver, London, Guelph, Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Halifax, Moncton, and Fredericton. Following the events in Canada, the speaking tour will head south to the US, with talks in Bangor, Portland, New York, Boston, New Jersey, and Washington DC.
WHY: The speaking tour aims to build greater awareness about the issues facing El Salvador and other Latin American countries, challenge the unjust practices of Canadian, US and other mining companies, including Pacific Rim and Goldcorp, and build relationships with groups in North America, including those confronting their own local mining issues. The speaking tour will be followed by an international Fact-Finding Mission to El Salvador on May 9-13, aiming to build awareness around the dangers of mining in El Salvador.
The Mesa is also worried about possible contamination from upstream mining projects just over the border in Guatemala and Honduras. Goldcorp’s Cerro Blanco mine, for example, is located only 18 km from El Salvador in the headwaters of the Lempa River, the main source of water for over 60% of the population of El Salvador.
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