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The Perceived Consequences of Gold Mining in Postwar El Salvador: A Qualitative Study.

Zakrison, Tanya L; Cabezas, Pedro; Valle, Evan; Kornfeld, Julie; Muntaner, Carles; Soklaridis, Sophie
| Idioma(s): Inglés
OBJECTIVES: We investigated themes related to the health and environmental impacts of gold mining in El Salvador. METHODS: Over a 1-month period in 2013, we conducted focus groups (n = 32 participants in total) and individual semistructured interviews (n = 11) with community leaders until we achieved thematic saturation. Data collection took place in 4 departments throughout the country. We used a combination of criterion-purposive and snowballing sampling techniques to identify participants. RESULTS: Multiple themes emerged: (1) the fallacy of economic development; (2) critique of mining activities; (3) the creation of mining-related violence, with parallels to El Salvador's civil war; and (4) solutions and alternatives to mining activity. Solutions involved the creation of cooperative microenterprises for sustainable economic growth, political empowerment within communities, and development of local participatory democracies. CONCLUSIONS: Gold mining in El Salvador is perceived as a significant environmental and public health threat. Local solutions may be applicable broadly.
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