Vancouver mining company sues El Salvador for US$315m

From Business in Vancouver

Pacific Rim Mining Corp.’s U.S. subsidiary has filed a US$315 million damage claim against the government of El Salvador, the company announced yesterday.

The spat involves Pacific Rim’s contention that the government of El Salvador failed to issue necessary mining licences for the company’s El Dorado gold project.

A three-member panel of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is hearing the arbitration case.

The company said that the arbitration is in its final, merit-based phase. The tribunal will determine if El Salvador in fact broke investment laws by refusing to issue the permits. If it deems that there was a breach, the tribunal would also determine how much compensation is merited.

“We are very confident in the merits of our case and our ability to receive fair value for our expropriated assets,” said Pacific Rim’s CEO Tom Shrake. “Unfortunately, we are not alone. Because of a pattern of mistreatment of foreign investors by the government of El Salvador, the country is now the single worst jurisdiction of all of Latin America in attracting foreign investment and the slowest growing economy in Central America for the eighth consecutive year.”

Pacific Rim is not the only Vancouver mining company seeking a compensation windfall from a country in the Americas.

Rusoro Mining filed a US$3.03 billion claim against Venezuela at the World Bank’s International Centre of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the company announced March 21.

By Glen Kostrom