Update 14 March/ Communities take over Ascendant Camp,

By , March 14, 2007
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14 March 2007

NEWS FLASHCommunities take over ascendant camp
Ascendant: Back to the Drawing Board?

Information is coming in slowly, but we just learned that apparently several communities around the Junin area have taken over Ascendant’s camp in Chalguayacu Bajo area, and are demanding the government makes the company comply with the STOP-WORK order issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines in December of 2006, and which the company has not respected. Until 9am this morningthere were no reports of confrontations, but we’ll try to keep you informed.

Acabamos de confirmar que varias comunidades se han tomado el campamento de la empresa minera para exigir al gobierno que le obligue a la empresa a respetar la orden de prohibición de trabajo dentro de sus conceciones que fue emitida por el Ministerio de Energía y Minas en Diciembre del 2006, y la cual la empresa ha irrespetado. Tan pronto tengamos más informaciones estaremos informandoles, pero hasta la 9am hora del Ecuador no había reportes de enfrentamientos.

Ascendant hasn’t told its shareholders yet, but the December 9th order from the Ministry of Energy to stop all work within its concessions carried with it the implicit order to begin the whole process of getting its environmental impact study approved- beginning with trying to get new Terms of Reference approved. This is a process that could take years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if done properly.

You’ll recall that DECOIN reported that in the Ministry of Energy and Mines stop-work order, the Ministry gave several reasons why the Environmental Impact Study was so flawed that it wasn’t adecuate enough for the Ministry to process. The company, in short, would have to start the whole process over again and present a new study, with the added condition that it now has to abide by very strict and community-friendly consultation bylaws the government made explicit to Ascendant it must comply with.

We recently learned that Ascendant has not made the least effort to present new Terms of Reference- a time-consuming process involving community participation, and a necessary first step to present an Environmental Impact Study. With Municipal, Provincial, and seven local township governments opposed to its project (all that have jurisdiccion), besides the widespread NGO and community opposition, there is no way either the Terms of Reference or the Environmental Impacts Study will be approved.

Meanwhile the company keeps choosing not to comply with the December government order to stop work within its Junin mining concessions. Understandibly, Ascendant’s decision has angered people in government, and has led to an dramatic escalation of tension in the area- a dangerous situation compounded by the general perception that several properties in the hands of Ascendant were acquired fraudulently.

And lastly, for now, has anyone notice that the company hasn’t filed its third quarter report?

Resumen;: Ascendant no le ha advertido a sus accionistas que la orden emitida por el Ministerio de Gobierno en Diciembre para que frene sus actividades dentro de sus conceciones contiene también la orden de que tiene que iniciar de nuevo- por completo- todo el proceso de la aprobación de su estudio de Impacgto ambiental- y aún más, el de los Términos de Referencia- un proceso que puede durar años y costar cientos de miles de dólares. Se complica más la situación porque el Ministerio también le informó a la empresa que tendrá que respetar un nuevo reglamento de consulta con las comunidades- que será vigilada por el Ministerio de Energía y Minas. Hasta la fecha la empresa no ha presentado ningún estudio al Ministerio.

Mientras tanto la empresa sigue haciendo caso omiso a la orden de frenar sus actividades dentro de las concesiones, lo cual ha empeorado en malestar en las comunidades y los gobierno locales- con el agravante de la percepción existente que varias de las propiedades en manos de la empresa fueron adquiridas fraudalentamente.

Y,por fin, notamos que la empresa aún no publica su informe financiero del último trimsemestre, que se cumplió el 31 de diciembre…..

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