LatinNews Daily - 01 March 2022

In brief: Honduran gov’t cancels mining permits, bans open-pit mining

*Honduras’s ministry of energy, natural resources, environment & mines has announced that environmental permits for Honduran metal and non-metal mining will be cancelled and open-pit mining will be prohibited. The announcement is in line with a campaign pledge by the new leftist Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre) government led by President Xiomara Castro which took office at the end of January. It is unclear whether the cancellations will apply to new projects, or whether they will also apply to existing ones. According to Castro’s campaign manifesto, as of 2017 Honduras’s geology and mining institute had authorised a total of 282 mining concessions. According to a study published in September 2021 by a local think tank Foro Social de la Deuda Externa de Honduras (Fosdeh), there are 217 mining concessions approved for exploitation, spanning 131,515 hectares (ha) of territory. According to Fosdeh since 2000, mining has contributed on average less than 1% annually to Honduras’s GDP. It cites figures from Honduras’s central bank (BCH) that in 2019, mining generated L3.693bn (US$150m), barely 0.60% of GDP.

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