Some Very Bad News For Ascendant

By , July 17, 2007
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Ascendant told to Stop by Ministry officials
Antofagasta pulls out of joint mining project

Ascendant Told To Stop
(español tan pronto alguien me de una mano!!)

High officials with the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (formerly Energy and Mines) of Ecuador – including the Minister himself– sent two very crucial official documents to Ascendant Copper Corporation on the 12th and 15th of July of 2007, pointing out grave issues related to the company’s activities in the Junin area. The letters will have a direct impact on the future of the Junin mining project and, in fact, on the company’s future in Ecuador.

Following are the highlights of the content of the two documents:

– Ascendant Copper Corporation has not complied with article 88 of the Constitution, which requires previous consultation with the communities
– The company has not complied with the March 20th agreements between it and the government
– The lack of compliance by the company is reviving the grave social conflicts present in the area late last year
– The company’s activities is creating division and insecurity in the communities
– Ascendant is NOT AUTHORIZED to carry out community relations work
– The company HAS NOT SUBMITTED THE TERMS OF REFERENCE for the Environmental Impact Study
– The company has not submitted an Environmental Impact Study to replaced the EIS that was rejected on December 8 of 2006
– The Ministry orders Ascendant to immediately cease all activities- including those aimed at dividing the community and destroy the civil peace, and includies community relations work, and any other linked to agricultural projects.

In the next day or so we’ll have scanned copies and (hopefully) full translation of the documents up on our web page.

The fact that government officials are finally admitting that article 88 of the country’s Constitution was violated is a major step towards the annulment of Ascendant’s mining concessions. The article requires a process of community consultation prior to the government taking a decision which might impact a community’s environment. President Correa has said in many public scenarios that any illegal concessions will revert back to the state. After these two documents, we are fairly certain that Ascendant’s Junin concessions will be one of the first.

In short, the company keeps spending millions of dollars from a (largely) unsuspecting Canadian public, to fund the creation of havoc, insecurity and conflict in Ecuador. No one has yet been killed, but is this next step really inevitable? Is anyone at the Toronto Stock Exchange listening? Does anyone there care at all? What the hell are the authorities overseeing these companies doing?

DECOIN

MORE BAD NEWS: Antofagasta pulls out
Antofagasta plc, the owner of three copper mines in Chile, withdrew its investment in a copper and molybdenum project in Ecuador as a preliminary study showed a level of mineralization that was below expectations.

Ascendant Copper Corp, which owns the Chuacha project, will refund US$1.13 million paid by Antofagasta, Lakewood, Colorado-based Ascendant said on Monday in a statement distributed by Market Wire.

A drilling program indicates the property contains an average copper grade of 0.46%, below a 0.5% threshold that London-based Antofagasta set, John Haigh, a spokesman for Ascendant, said on Monday in a phone interview from Lakewood.

http://www.mining-journal.com/Breaking_News.aspx?breaking_news_article_id=3196

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