Ecuador: Concerns of indigenous peoples and environmentalists over threat of three open-pit mining projects in the Cordillera del Cóndor

Author: Mongabay and Vistazo Magazine (Ecuador), Published on: 23 May 2019

[Excerpt translation from Spanish provided by Business and Human Rights Resource Centre]

Two projects that are about to inaugurate large-scale mining at the little explored Cordillera del Cóndor…can be found in a unique Amazonian forest, filled with endemic species, where indigenous communities live. Now they are in danger because below the land they inhabit thousands of millions of dollars in copper, gold and platinum exist …Another project is being explored and adds to a history where the clash between mining and this great biodiversity unleash numerous socio-environmental conflicts…To deploy these projects there have been 1422 hectares of forest cut down, something apparently confirmed by the Chinese company Ecuacorriente, responsible of the operation, to Vistazo and Mongabay Latam that explored the zone. This is what is known as open-pit mining and it is the first project of its kind in Ecuador. The operational phase, expected to begin by December of this year, will extract 3,18 million of tons of copper, plus gold and platinum, for 30 years…Ecuacorriente assures that biodiversity and mining can coexist if cutting edge technology is used. Through an e-mail, the company explained that it has programmes to relocate rescued species in the deforested zones to maintain the ecosystems. Furthermore it informed that, according to the environmental procedures and permissions, it has reforested 186 hectares…Nevertheless, the Shuar indigenous community not only fears for the impact on the biodiversity, but also for the contamination of the water and the loss of forests, which they apparently claim, are more frequent as the project advances.

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Related companies: China Railway Construction Corriente Resources (joint venture Tongling Nonferrous Metals, China Railway Construction Corporation & CRCC-Tongguan Investment) Ecuacorriente (part of Corriente Resources) Explorcobres, EXSA (part of Corriente Resources) Tongling Nonferrous Metals (SOE)