Coup leaves nation without mining law

Friday, September 25, 2009

The June coup in Honduras has left the country without a law to regulate the mining sector since "all efforts are now focused on how to resolve the country's internal crisis," Gabino Carvajal, president of national mining association Anamimh, told BNamericas.

"Right now nobody is talking about mining, only about how to keep the country afloat," he said.

According to the official, most Hondurans are concerned with how to settle the conflict surrounding exiled President Manuel Zelaya and the rise to power of de facto President Roberto Micheletti.

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In May Zelaya presented a bill to congress for a new mining law that proposed, among other issues, updating the tax system, prohibiting open-pit mining, establishing community approval as necessary for the issue of mining concessions and a ban on the use of toxic substances such as cyanide and mercury.

Congress was supposed to begin debating the bill on August 16 but on June 28 a military coup ousted Zelaya, and the armed forces took control of the government and shut down the legislative branch, leaving the country without a law to regulate mining activity.

Three years ago the supreme court abolished the mining law in place since 1998.

On Friday the UN Security Council was expected to hold a meeting on how to deal with the surprise return of Zelaya, who has taken refuge in the Brazilian embassy in capital Tegucigalpa.

Miners in Honduras include Goldcorp (TSX: G, NYSE: GG) and Yamana Gold.