Last week, El Salvador became the first country to ban all metal mining activities nationwide. The bill passed in a unanimous vote. The new law places an immediate and permanent ban on all metal mining, including exploratory activities, barring a two-year transition period for small-scale artisanal gold mines. The law is the culmination of years of campaigning and local action and of a 9-year moratorium on mining. In 2008, El Salvador denied a permit to El Dorado (now a subsidiary of OceanaGold), which then sued the country and lost.
On April 14, 2016, El Salvador declared its first water shortage emergency in history. The president of El Salvador cited the effects of El Niño and climate change as reasons for the shortage. Rainfall in El Salvador has decreased significantly in the past four years, leading to the current situation where water reserve levels are at a critical state. In the past couple of weeks, the Central American country has seen protests among neighborhood residents from the outskirts of San Salvador, the capital city, against the water shortages in their communities.