Minister Against Open Pit Mining, Concessions were chaos

By , June 12, 2007
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Also below: Rejection of Environmental Impact Study; Stop work order, and National Anti-mining Strike

tuesday, June 12
The Minister of Energy and Mines of Ecuador, Alberto Acosta, said yesterday that he oposes open-pit mining, and that he considers the mining concessions in Ecuador were a “real chaos”. He further implied that the future of the concessions will rest in the hands of the soon-to-be elected National Constitutional Assembly.

Quotes from monday’s Televised interview on Ecuavisa TV station

The Minister of Energy and Mines, Alberto Acosta, characterized the mining concessions that have been registered in the country as “real chaos, and offered to regulate the issue throught a “great national mining dialogue”

Regarding large mining companies, the Minister pointed out that they are defining the issue, which “is, at this moment, in a point close to failure and decisions need to be taken”

Acosta said that he is against open-pit mining, and especially in those areas of “great environmental fragility because we could cause grave ecological and social problems” he stated.

For Acosta, these types of situations need to be analized in the National Constitutional Assembly, which should be elected this year, and where a new constitution will be enacted.

Translated from the Spanish; sources below:

Quito, 11 jun (EFE).- El ministro ecuatoriano de Energía y Minas, Alberto Acosta, calificó hoy como un “verdadero caos” a las concesiones mineras que se han registrado en el país y ofreció regular el asunto a través de un “gran diálogo nacional minero”.

Respecto a las grandes compañías mineras, el ministro señaló que se está definiendo el tema “que se encuentra, en este momento, en un punto de quiebre y hay que tomar definiciones”.

Acosta adelantó que es contrario a la explotación a cielo abierto, sobre todo en aquellas zonas “de enorme fragilidad ambiental porque podríamos ocasionar gravísimos problemas de tipo ecológico y social”, dijo.

Para Acosta, este tipo de situaciones se tienen que analizar en la Asamblea Nacional Constituyente que se debe elegir este mismo año y en la que se pretende redactar una nueva Constitución.

Sources:

http://es.biz.yahoo.com/11062007/185/concesiones-mineras-ecuador-verdadero-caos-dice-ministro-energia-minas.html

http://www.eldiario.com.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/40099

http://www.eldiario.com.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/39693 (revisión de concesiones)

GOVERNMENT FIRM AGAINST MINING CONCESSIONS- REJECTION OF ENVIRONMNETAL IMPACT STUDY, AND NEW LEGISLATION ON THE HORIZON

JUNE 5TH, NATIONAL ANTI-MINING PROTEST PLANNED

Today´s El Comercio Newspaper reported Ecuador´s President Correa recent speach against the mining concessions in Ecuador, where he stated that it´s a disaster how they have been issued and that his government will review every single one of them. He said that that around 4,000 concessions have been issued, but that they have “created chaos and that certain areas they are on the brink of a civil war”

President Correa also stated that the communities were not consulted in the issuing of the mining concessions, and that “the law needs to be changed to guarantee collective rights”
http://www.elcomercio.com/solo_texto_search.asp?id_noticia=74458&anio=2007&mes=5&dia=3


This comes admist the government decision to reject the environmental impact study Canadian mining company Corriente Resources, and issued a stop-work order for the company . A similar stop work order was issued against Ascendant Copper on December 2006. (Reuters News Agency, 29 May 2007)

HUGE INCREASE IN MINING royalties is one of the proposals being discussed by the government- up to 80% according to one ministers of state- and which will be incorporated in the new mining law.
(Español: por favor ver el articulo de El comercio de arriba,, y Reuters))

June 5th has been chosen by civil society groups and communities from all over Ecuador to show their rejection to large-scale mining projects and large hydroelectric dams. The organizations are asking for immediate expulsion of mining and hydroelectric companies from the communities.

The strike is being led by National Coordinator for the Defense of Life and Dignity, and joined by hundreds of organizations and communities impacted by mining and hydroelectric dam projects.

The organizations taking part of this first-ever national strike are demanding the government rescind all the mining concessions for violating the nation’s Constitution, specifically the right to previous consultation. In addition, they are demanding from the government:

The Demilitarization and expulsion of paramilitary and armed groups from the areas in conflict.

That human rights violations undertaken by transnational mining companies be investigated and punished, and in particular those of Aurelian Resources, Corriente Resources Inc, and Ascendant Copper who were assisted by the military or paramilitary groups

The press comunique goes on to say that:

“…on June 5 we will initiate a NATIONAL PROTEST until the concessions are annulled, our rights are respected and peace reestablished in our communities”

below is the full text of the release


LEVANTAMIENTO NACIONAL DEL 5 DE JUNIO
  • Salida inmediata de las mineras e hidroeléctricas de nuestras comunidades.
  • Que mediante decreto ejecutivo se deje sin valor las concesiones mineras, hidroeléctricas e hídricas en aplicación del Art. 272, por haber violado los Art. 86 y 88 de la Constitución y se declare a Ecuador país libre de minería a gran escala.
  • Desmilitarización y retiro de paramilitares y grupos armados de las zonas en conflicto.
  • Que se investigue y sancione la violación de los derechos humanos cometidos por las empresas mineras transnacionales, y en particular la Aurelian Resources, Corriente Resources Inc. y Ascendant Copper S.A. con apoyo de las fuerzas armadas o grupos paramilitares.
  • Poner fin a la criminalización de las luchas sociales y ambientales a través de juicios y procesos legales en contra de los dirigentes y las organizaciones que resisten a las empresas extractivas.
  • Que se sancione mediante la Ley de Defensa del Consumidor por la propaganda engañosa y mal intencionada de la Cámara de Minería del Ecuador.
  • Que se garantice la libertad de expresión de las comunidades afectadas por las mineras e hidroeléctricas a través de los medios de comunicación.
  • Que el gobierno nacional demande a las empresas mineras e hidroeléctricas por daños y perjuicios.
  • Que se garantice la integridad física y no se tome represalias de ningún tipo contra los participantes en este levantamiento.
El levantamiento se iniciará el día 5 de junio a las 00h00.
COORDINADORA NACIONAL

POR LA DEFENSA DE LA VIDA Y LA SOBERANIA

coor_nacionaldvs@yahoo.es

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