Nicaragua: Community win as gold giant concession revoked


Residents of El Rancho march in protest against the El Pavon mining project. Photo: Environmental Justice Atlas.

After a long campaign of community resistance to the project, the Nicaraguan government has declared that the Canadian company B2Gold's bid to open a gold mine is “unviable” due to its environmental impacts.

“The project is not feasible due to the damage that it would cause in nature, the environment, the sources of water and the way of life of people,” government spokesperson Rosario Murillo told reporters on October 12. The government has rejected plans to exploit resources of Rancho Grande in the Matagalpa region.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega approved the repeal of B2Gold's permit for the El Pavon project based on an analysis by the environment and natural resources ministry.

The news comes as a victory to communities in northern Nicaragua, which have been fighting to protect their land from the Vancouver-based B2Gold's program.

“I believe that on this occasion, the government has respected the will of the population and has listened to the popular clamour,” said Matagalpa bishop Rolando Alvarez, a key figure in the battle against mining in the area.

“We're beset by foreign mining companies interested in gold exploitation, which now gives rise to the threat of losing everything.”

The bishop marched alongside thousands of residents on October 2 in protest against the planned exploitation. According the government, the license for the Canadian company was granted before 2007 and authorised during the period of neoliberal governments.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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