Pacific Rim Mining Corp vs. the government of El Salvador (Hr. 2)

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Canadian mining company cries victim. That's not something you hear every day.

Pacific Rim, a junior mining company from Vancouver, claims it has been deprived of its right to start a gold mine. It is suing the government of El Salvador.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, long war-torn and just starting to get back on its feet. A decade ago, mining seemed like a good idea.

But this past summer, El Salvador introduced a law that would make it the only country in the world to prohibit mining.

Pacific Rim says you invited us - we played by your rules, El Salvador. You can't change your mind now. And that raises some fundamental questions about investor rights and national sovereignty.

The legal battle - a long, dull, drawn-out affair - is taking place before a World Bank Tribunal in Washington. And, should you want, you can watch it all on-line.

A much nastier fight is being waged on the ground in El Salvador - a dangerous place at the best of times.

Anti-mining activists have been killed. The Catholic church has come out strongly against mining in El Salvador, and is pushing the government to fight the lawsuit, even if it bankrupts the country.

Meanwhile in Vancouver, at the corner of Howe and Burrard, Pacific Rim is digging in its heels.

Karin Wells's documentary is called High Stakes Poker.

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