Pacific Rim’s version of its work in El Salvador

The following claims are extracted from a range of sources including the website of the Pacific Rim Mining Corporation – – which includes sections on ‘Social Responsibility’ and ‘Environmental Leadership’. In these website sections it devotes considerable space to its environmental programmes of reforestation, recycling, water protection measures and environmental monitoring programmes and to its social and community programmes relating to employment, education, health and the environment. It also reports on a national poll in El Salvador which directly contradicts the results of other polls and which shows a majority of Salvadorans in favour of mining.

“The Company exclusively explores for high grade, environmentally low-impact deposits that offer the potential for high margins. Our exploration is conducted with the utmost respect for local communities, their culture, health and the environment.”[1]

The corporation claims that it would detoxify any water used for mining, leaving local water sources cleaner than they were previously. “You could basically stick a cup in the water and drink it,” Pacific Rim’s Barbara Henderson recently boasted to the Miami Herald.[2]

Pacific Rim contends that the mining project would ultimately benefit Salvadoran citizens, becoming the country’s greatest source of tax revenue and generating thousands of jobs. … the company’s CEO, Tom Shrake, claimed that only 25% of El Salvador’s population opposed the mining, and accused the opposition of a misinformation campaign. According to Shrake, “The idea that this type of mining is catastrophic to the environment is pure fiction invented by politically-minded international NGOs who hide behind environmental protection in their anti-development activities.”[3]

Pacific Rim’s CEO Tom Shrake says the mine will give a much-needed boost to the local economy, estimating the project will bring a total of 2,000 jobs. Shrake adds the mine will also generate revenue for the government which is entitled to a 3% tax on the mine’s gross sales.[4]

In response [to the anti-mining campaign], Pacific Rim attempted to buy public support – or at least quell resistance with a PR campaign touting the virtues of ‘minería verde’ or ‘green mining’ [which] touted the benefits of mining projects on local development.[5]

Tom Shrake … stated, “Sadly, it is not just Pacific Rim whose rights are being compromised, but the rights of all Salvadorans and foreign investors. Local communities and social and environmental agencies are being denied the benefits of our community programmes.”[6]

In a conference call explaining the details of the Notice of Intent, Shrake blamed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in El Salvador for the Salvadoran government’s refusal to grant Pacific Rim mining extraction permits. Specifically, Shrake named Oxfam America as “the most active organisation in the country” supporting anti-mining efforts. Shrake claimed NGOs “just try to scare the heck out of everybody involved” in mining.[7]

[1] Pacific Rim Mining Corporation website (2010) ‘Overview’, (accessed 05.02.10).
[2] Michael Busch (2009) ‘El Salvador’s Gold Fight’, Foreign Policy in Focus, 16 July 2009, (accessed 17.02.10).
[3] Lisa Skeen (2010) ‘Salvadoran Anti-Mining Activists Risk Their Lives by Taking On ‘Free Trade’’, NACLA Reports, 1 February 2010, (accessed 05.02.10).
[4] Zach Dyer (2009) ‘El Salvador Faces CAFTA Suit Over Mine Project’, NACLA Report, 6 February 2009, (accessed 17.03.09).
[5] Jason Wallach (2009) ‘Pacific Rim Silent in Wake of Violence Against Anti-Mining Protesters in Cabañas, El Salvador’, Upside Down World, 5 August 2009, (accessed 21.09.09).
[6] Tom Shrake cited by Michelle Petrotta (2009) ‘Pacific Rim Corp. Files Suit Against Salvadoran Government’, El Salvador Solidarity, January 2009, (accessed 08.01.10)
[7] Ibid.