A Mining Ban in Honduras?

Honduran Bishop Luis Santos Villeda, with the help of civil society, is making progress in a nationwide effort to ban open-pit mining for minerals.

Bishop Santos helped lead a protest on July 25, when hundreds of priests, farmers, students and environmentalists shut down parts of the Pan-American Highway in Western Honduras to demand that the government change its mining laws.

The bishop met with Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on Aug. 1 and is confident demands to ban the environmentally and socially destructive mining practice will be adopted.

"It seems that the president is more inclined toward our proposal," the bishop said. But he added that a new mining law would still have to pass through Congress.

This is a change of position for President Zelaya who accused protestors a week earlier of giving the country a bad image. And the mining industry is definitely worried

"The scene in Honduras for investment and mining companies is totally clouded," Gabino Carbajal, the president of the national mining association told Reuters. "If open pit mining is prohibited, mining will disappear in this country."