04/19/2017 15:17 EDT | Updated 04/19/2017 15:20 EDT

El Salvador seizes mining company's assets for payment

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The government of El Salvador has seized properties, vehicles and bank accounts tied to OceanaGold because it says the company has not paid its legal costs after losing a decision in an international arbitration panel last year.

Last October, the World Bank's International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes ordered the company to pay El Salvador $8 million for legal fees. The company had argued that El Salvador should pay nearly $250 million for not granting it a license to mine gold.

This March, the country's congress voted to ban metal mining to protect its water sources.

In 2013, Australia-based OceanaGold purchased Pac Rim Cayman, which had initiated the arbitration process.

According to a statement from the Attorney General's Office Wednesday, the three bank accounts seized held US$198,904.