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Ecuador: Head of Mining Chamber of Ecuador speaks out against local indigenous and environmental consultations

“Ecuador mining sector needs clear regulations to attract investment, industry group says”, 15 July 2021

...Citizen-led ballot measures by environmental activists and indigenous communities have presented a growing challenge to a sector that President Guillermo Lasso wants to expand as part of efforts to spur a sluggish economy. Industry concern increased after citizens in the city of Cuenca in February voted to ban future mining activities near rivers. A recent court ruling left the door open for Quito, the capital, to hold a similar ballot initiative. “The country needs to provide a secure, clear legal framework to continue attracting foreign direct investment,” Nathan Monash, head of the industry association, the Mining Chamber of Ecuador, said in an interview on Wednesday night. “We believe that these local consultations cannot decide on issues that are of national interest and that fall within the competence of the central government”...Organizers of the referendums say mining projects are a threat to watersheds, do not respect the rights of indigenous peoples and do not deliver sufficient benefits to the local communities. Former President Lenin Moreno had hoped that five mining projects originally budgeted at some $7 billion would help drive the sector forward. But two, including the San Carlos Panantza cooper mine, are completely halted, and a third is relocating some facilities due to local opposition. Lasso, a former banker, has said he will respect the concessions already granted to private companies and will ensure they follow environmental regulations...