June 11, 2006 Update*
WHY IS THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND MINES SO UPSET AT ASCENDANT?
AND, WHY IS THE MAYOR OF COTACACHI SO PISSED WITH THE COMPANY?
(and other tales Ascendant woes)
“The Ministry of Energy and Mines, concerned with the escalation of conflicts in the areas of Golden 1 and Golden 2, takeS no responsibility for the social problems caused by the activities carried out by your company in the Intag Zone”
So starts the June 6th letter addressed to Gary Davis, President of Ascendant, by the Minister of Energy and Mines (in function).
The Minister holds Ascendant Copper solely responsible for the events that took place during the June 3rd meeting, which was organized and paid for Ascendant, as well as other earlier incidences. On June 3rd, the meeting came undone when Mr. Ronald Andrade, the only person present who wished to challenge what the company’s representatives were telling the crowd, was physically prevented by the company from speaking. The anti-mining faction, led by all legally represented Parish government presidents and most of Intag’s organizations and communities, boycotted the meeting.
The letter from the Ministry goes on to say that when, and only when, the company lives up to all the social and environmental commitments acquired by the company, will the Ministry go ahead and process future paperwork related to the mining project. OUCH!
How many NO’s and in how many ways must ascendant listen to before it gets the message?
I think as long as suckers keep being born every minute who are willing to finance such a shoddy operation.
Mayor of Cotacachi Rebuffs Davis and his Crew.
If that wasn’t enough, this past June 9th, Auki Tituaña, Mayor of Cotacachi County, sent Mr. Davis and Daimi Services a damming four-page letter** accusing Daimi Services and Ascendant Copper of, among other things, lying and of having dealings with “drug-traffickers”.
This outburst came as a result of a meeting Daimi Services organized with the supposed cooperation of the Mayor’s office, but that in fact, many things had not been OK’d by the Mayor, and was done, in large part, behind his back. When Mr. Davis and his fellows showed up for the meeting on the 9th, the Mayor would have none of it, and was outraged at the abuse by Daimi Services of giving the impression the Mayor wanted to meet with Ascendant and Daimi, and setting the venue and taking other liberties without consulting with the Municipality.
In light of the outright rejection by the Municipal governments and organizations, Mr. Davis and Juan Carlos Bermeo* (Ascendant’s Ecuador representative) had to take their party elsewhere, and meet with no more than 20 of their own people.
**We’ll have the full text of Mayor Tituaña’s letter to Daimi Services and Ascendant Copper Corporation up and translated in the next few days.
In the letter, the Mayor referred to the project as completely undoable, because it violates basic Constitutional rights. In a newspaper interview published June 10th La Hora newspaper (Imbabura Section), the Mayor said that in conversations with the new Canadian Ambassador, the Ambassador labeled the Junin mining project a “White Elephant”. A very expensive White Elephant; one which is getting more expensive by the day. In the interview, and responding to Mr. Davis’ argument that mining would bring prosperity to Intag, the Mayor said, “if they are so concerned about bringing prosperity, they should worry about Canada, which also suffers from poverty”.
And what happened to the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that, since January of this year, Ascendant has been saying it was finished and being socialized with the communities? NOTHING.
Last we heard, the Terms of References had not even approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Legally, once the Terms are approved, the company is authorized to THEN, AND ONLY THEN, start their EIS. The operational word here is legally; which is all dependent on the willingness of Ministry of Energy and Mines officials…………
*Juan Carlos Bermeo, Ascendant’s general manager in Ecuador, had an interesting history as head of the Department of Hydrocarbons a few years back. The Department is part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. In 2002, the Ecuadorian Congressional Civic Anti-Corruption Commission, in an in-depth investigation related to a transfer of petroleum concessions in Ecuador’s Amazon region, found signs of responsibility in Bermeo’s involvement with the irregular petro deal (Arco Oriente y Burlington Resources Ecuador Ltd. Had failed to live up to their contractual obligations) The main recommendation of the Anti-Corruption Commission was to ask the government to revoke the oil drilling rights in this oil concession. One is left to wonder if Mr. Bermeo included this in his Curriculum Vitae.