El Salvador will prohibit gold and other metal mining after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday for the ban. Environmental activists say the country is the first in the world to ban metal mining.
El Salvador’s delicate environment was cited as being unable to sustain metal mining operations, and legislators from many parties approved the ban, supported by the popular Roman Catholic Church. Proponents said a ban would proect the country’s supply of clean water.
“Today in El Salvador, water won out over gold,” tweeted Johnny Wright Sol, a legislator from the center-right Arena party.
Around the world, some bans on cyanide use to extract gold from low-grade ore exist, and Costa Rica has a national ban on open-pit gold mining.