Chapter 5: Mining

Of all the civil conflicts which concern single issues within Central America, probably those that have led to most environmental and social disturbance and contamination and to most violence are those relating to the extraction of mineral ores. The headlines of two 1997 articles from the English language weekly ‘The Tico Times’ illustrate the point that the potential for conflict over mining operations are not new. The first states that “Peace in Central America Threatens the Environment”[i] alluding to the fact that very little mining took place during the period of US-inspired wars in the 1970s and 1980s. The second – “Regional Opposition to Mining Grows”[ii] – makes clear that the battles currently raging over mining operations (during the years from 2008), although of greater intensity than those of the previous decade, are hardly new.

Key words: Open-pit mining | Land appropriation | Forced eviction | Consultation | Water contamination | Atmospheric contamination | Human health | Social divisions | Cyanide heap leaching | Human rights abuses | Assassinations of anti-mining activists | Precautionary measures | Mining suspension orders | ‘Green mining’ | Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)

[i]  The Tico Times, 12.06.97
[ii]  The Tico Times, 5.09.97