If the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador can resist the mining industry, maybe we all can, but not without a fight: Mining firms are suing governments for policies that impeded future profits.
.....global mining companies are trying to ensure that no government is allowed to say no.
One is the tiny nation of El Salvador, where the government stopped issuing gold mining permits half a decade ago. The Salvadoran government did so despite sky-high gold prices and the argument that exporting gold was one of the country's few chances to boost aggregate economic growth (in the short-term, at least).
They did so largely because the majority of Salvadorans get water from one large river system, and gold mining invariably pollutes nearby rivers and watersheds. ...El Salvador is not alone in its policies. The government of Costa Rica has said no to open-pit mining. (While open-pit mining is only one method of mining, it is among the most environmentally destructive.)
Costa Rica's Congress subsequently voted for a no-new-open-pit-mining law—unanimously. That no was upheld by Costa Rica's Supreme Court.
Governments can say no to a false notion of development that would do little besides line the pockets of elite corporate interests, while leaving devastated ecosystems in its wake. ....But global mining companies are trying to ensure that no government is allowed to say no.
These corporations are making their cases based on a controversial Central America "free trade" agreement with the United States, and on El Salvador's former investment law (written with the help of the World Bank), which opened the door for mining firms to sue governments for policies that impeded future profits.
In February 2014, Infinito announced that, rather than accept the Supreme Court rejection of its appeal, it was filing an investor-state case against the Costa Rican government at the World Bank's ICSID. Infinito is suing Costa Rica for the $94 million it claims to have invested so far.