More Concession on the Chopping Block / Se cancelarán más concesiones

By , January 29, 2008
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More Concession on the Chopping Block
Espaniol abajo…

Published in El Univeso Newspaper (Ecuador’s largest daily)

Monday January 28th, 2008

Mandate will revoke mineral concessions
QUITO

A decision by the National Constituent Assembly will broaden the
government’s resolution to revoke 587 mining concessions. The mining
industry association rejects the mandate and warns of a possible work
stoppage.

The government has drafted a new mandate to declare all mining
concessions null. Last week 587 mining concessions were revoked of a
total of 4,112 registered with the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

The document was delivered to assembly members of Alianza Pais
(“Country Alliance,” the official movement of President Rafael Correa)
this past Friday indicating that concessions held by companies in the
phase of exploration will be shelved if they haven’t made any
investment before December 31st, 2007.

Also included are concessions for which conservation patents have not
been paid by March 31st for the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, as
well as those located within protected areas.

The mandate, prepared by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, puts a
timeline of one year on renegotiation of concessions. If in this time
an agreement is not reached with mining companies, mineral rights will
be cancelled permanently. During this period, new concessions will not
be granted and pending requests will be postponed.

Details
Reaction

Industry
President of the Chamber of Mining, César Espinosa, indicated that
this mandate puts the mining industry in stalemate and that its
content affects sector investments.

Work Stoppage
The association representative announced that the sector could decide
upon a work stoppage as a means of rejecting the mandate proposed by
the government.

Government proposal suggests canceling concessions in which no
investment has been made.

The 587 mining concessions revoked by the Ministry of Mines and
Petroleum of a total of 4,112 was only a precursor for the outcomes of
the mining mandate, drafted by the government to regulate and declare
the cancellation of all mining concessions.

The draft document, delivered last Friday to assembly members who are
part of the official Country Alliance movement by the Undersecretary
of Mines, José Serrano, states that mining concessions in the phase of
exploration that have not seen any investment before December 31st of
last year will be shelved.

Also included in this group are those affected by the administration’s
decision; those for which conservation patents have not been paid by
March 31st for one or more years during the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and
2007; as well as those located in protected areas.

In article 4 it directs the Ministry Mines and Petroleum to begin a
process of negotiation over remaining mineral rights under new rules
to include royalties; environmental, technical, and economic controls;
determination of a referential price; and terms and sanctions in case
the agreement is breached.

The same Secretariat of the State will draw up guidelines for this process.

The forementioned elements are not found within the current Mining Law
or in the Law for the Promotion of Investment and Citizen
Participation (“Trole 2,” approved in August 2000), in which mining
company obligations are based upon conservation patent payments and
production.

The former establishes the obligation to pay from $1 to $16 annually
per hectare according to the number of years of operation, and the
latter obliges payment of $16 annually.

The mandate, drafted by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, places a
one year limit on renegotiation and if an agreement with mining
companies is not reached in this time the cancellation of mining
rights will be permanent.

During this period, new concessions will not be granted and pending
requests will be postponed.

President of the Assembly, Alberto Acosta, had previously indicated in
an interview with El Universo that they were expecting the mining
mandate because there is “a hemorrhage of mining concessions for which
the State does not receive royalties.”

President Rafael Correa in his report to the nation also pointed out
that they are preparing a new Mining Law, which will establish a State
Mining Corporation and that concessions will be suspended until the
new law is written up.

Aware of the government’s intentions to create a new legal framework
for the activity, the Popular Democratic Movement (MPD) and Pachakutik
presented their proposals for the mining mandate to the Secretary of
the Assembly.

The MPD proposal suggests that the country be declared free of
large-scale open pit mining; designating natural sources of water as
untouchable, protected areas in which all types of extractive activity
should be prohibited; that all mining and water concessions be
returned to the state, among other aspects.

Assembly member César Grefa speaking for Pachakutik says that large
scale mining concessions between 1,000 and 5,000 hectares should be
revoked. According to him, open-pit mining activities should not take
place on lands near towns and communities.

What it is known

“A stab in the back”
President of the Chamber of Mining, César Espinosa, described the
mandate as “a stab in the back,” given that the sector has agreed to
dialogue and that it has been working with the government on the new
Mining Law. He indicated that they had planned eight workshops and
that the second took place last Thursday. Espinosa restated that the
only aim of this mining mandate is to put the industry in stalemate
given that it had already become paralyzed once government intentions
became known and that now, with this decision, that investors will be
affected.

Pressure Tactics
The mining sector, which provides employment for 120,000 people, is
considering a work stoppage, said César Espinosa of the Ecuadorian
Chamber of Mining. The organization provided its reaction to the
cancellation of 587 concessions this past Friday.

Canadian Corporations
The largest mining companies in the country are Ascendant Copper,
Ascendant, Ecuacorriente, Lowell, IamGold, Aurelian Resources,
Nambija, Dynasty Metals, Cornerstone. The majority are Canadian, from
the country considered to have the best technology in the sector.

Visits to Montecristi
Since public hearings with the Assembly began, the Natural Resources
working committee has been visited by the Faculty of Mining and
Petroleum from the Central University, the National Chamber of Mining,
the mining company Ecuacorriente, the Front for the Defense of Nature
and Life, the Youth Network, the Front of Women from El Pangüi
(Province of Zamora Chinchipe) and other organizations.

Statistics: 536.387,58 hectares
The cancellation of 587 mining concessions, declared by the Ministry
of Mines and Petroleum last Friday, affects a total of 536 387.58
hectares in nine provinces of the country.

http://www.eluniverso.com/2008/01/28/0001/8/2BEABE55E76F4055A94ACBF9C7CDBD0B.aspx

http://www.eluniverso.com/2008/01/28/0001/8/2BEABE55E76F4055A94ACBF9C7CDBD0B.aspx

Mandato hara caducar las concesiones mineras

Recursos

GRAFICOS

Noticias Relacionadas

Propuesta con sugerencias para Ley

Enero 28, 2008

QUITO

Con la decision de la Constituyente se ampliara la resolucion tomada de revertir 587 concesiones mineras. El gremio de la mineria anuncia su rechazo al mandato y advierte sobre una posible paralizacion de actividades.

El Gobierno tiene listo un nuevo mandato para declarar la caducidad de todas las concesiones mineras. La semana pasada se revirtieron 587 concesiones mineras, de un total de 4.112 que tiene registradas el Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos.

El documento borrador llego a manos de los asambleistas de PAIS el viernes pasado y seniala que se archivaran las concesiones de las empresas que en fase de exploracion no hayan realizado ninguna inversion al 31 de diciembre del 2007.

Ademas se incluyen las concesiones que no hayan pagado las patentes de conservacion hasta el 31 de marzo de los anios 2004, 2005, 2006 y 2007, y de las que se encuentren en areas protegidas.

El mandato, redactado por el Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos, pone el limite de un anio para la renegociacion de las concesiones y si en este tiempo no llegan a un acuerdo con las mineras la caducidad de los titulos sera definitiva. Mientras tanto, no se otorgaran nuevas concesiones y se archivaran las peticiones pendientes.

Detalles

Reaccion

Industria

El presidente de la Camara de Mineria, Cesar Espinosa, indico que este mandato pone en jaque a la industria minera y su contenido afecta a las inversiones en el sector.

Paralizacion

El representante del gremio anuncio que el sector podria ir a una paralizacion de actividades como medida de rechazo a este mandato propuesto por el regimen.

Regimen entrego propuesta para archivar concesiones que no hayan hecho ninguna inversion.

La reversion de 587 concesiones mineras, de un total de 4.112, por parte del Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos, solo fue un preambulo para lo que regulara el mandato minero elaborado por el Gobierno y que declarara la caducidad de todas la concesiones mineras.

El documento borrador, que fue entregado el viernes pasado a los asambleistas de Acuerdo PAIS por el subsecretario de Minas, Jose Serrano, determina que se archivaran las concesiones de las operadoras mineras que en fase de exploracion no hayan realizado ninguna inversion al 31 de diciembre del anio pasado.

En ese grupo tambien se incluyen las que esten pendientes de resolucion administrativa; de aquellas que no pagaron las patentes de conservacion hasta el 31 de marzo de los anios 2004, 2005, 2006 y 2007, por anio o acumulativo; y de las que se encuentren en areas protegidas.

En el articulo 4 dispone al Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos iniciar un nuevo proceso de negociacion de los titulos mineros con las que se salven de ser cernidas, pero bajo nuevas reglas que incluyen regalias, controles ambientales, tecnicos, economicos, precio referencial, plazos y sanciones de incumplimiento.

Todo este proceso requerira de un instructivo que debera ser redactado por la misma Secretaria de Estado.

Los aspectos antes mencionados no estan contemplados en la Ley Minera o de la Promocion de la Inversion y la Participacion Ciudadana (Trole 2, aprobada en agosto del 2000), en la que la obligacion de las mineras se centra en el pago de las patentes de conservacion y de produccion.

En la primera se establece la obligatoriedad de cancelar un valor de 1 a 16 dolares anuales por hectarea minera, dependiendo de los anios de funcionamiento, y en la segunda determina la obligacion del pago de 16 dolares anuales.

El mandato, redactado por el Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos, pone el limite de un anio para la renegociacion, si en este tiempo no llegan a un acuerdo con las mineras la caducidad de los titulos es definitiva.

Mientras tanto, no se otorgaran nuevas concesiones y se archivaran las peticiones pendientes.

La llegada de este mandato fue alertada por el presidente de la Asamblea, Alberto Acosta, quien en una entrevista con este Diario indico que habra un mandato minero porque existe “una hemorragia de concesiones mineras de las que el Estado no tiene regalias”.

Asimismo, el presidente Rafael Correa, en su informe a la nacion, dijo que se esta preparando la nueva Ley Minera, que se creara la Corporacion Estatal Minera y que se suspenderan las concesiones hasta que se redacte la nueva ley.

Conocedores de las intenciones del regimen de darle un nuevo marco a la actividad minera, el Movimiento Popular Democratico y Pachakutik presentaron sus propuestas de mandatos mineros ante la secretaria de la Asamblea.

El MPD sugiere declarar al pais libre de la explotacion minera a gran escala y a cielo abierto; senialar como zonas intangibles y zonas de proteccion las reservas naturales de agua y prohibir a perpetuidad cualquier actividad extractiva; que se reviertan al Estado todas las concesiones mineras y de agua, entre otros aspectos.

Pachakutik, por medio de su asambleista Cesar Grefa, sostiene que deben caducar las concesiones mineras de gran escala que se realicen de 1.000 a 5.000 hectareas. Para el, la actividad minera no se podra realizar de manera abierta, en terrenos cercanos a pueblos y comunidades.

Lo que se sabe

‘Punialada por la espalda’

El presidente de la Camara de Mineria, Cesar Espinosa, califico al mandato como “una punialada por la espalda”, puesto que todo el sector aposto por el dialogo y se sento a trabajar con el Gobierno la nueva Ley Minera. Indico que estaban planificados ocho talleres y que el segundo se llevo a cabo el pasado jueves. Espinosa resalto que la sola intencion de este mandato minero pone en jaque a esta industria porque ya se habia paralizado hasta saber el rumbo que le daria el regimen, y ahora, con esta decision, afectara a los inversionistas.

Medida de hecho

El sector minero, que da empleo a 120.000 personas, analiza iniciar una paralizacion, dijo Cesar Espinosa, de la Camara de Mineria del Ecuador. El viernes pasado, el organismo mostro su reaccion a la caducidad de 587 concesiones.

Empresas de Canada

Las mineras mas grandes en el pais son Ascendant Cooper, Ascendant, Ecuacorriente, Lowell, IamGold, Aurelian Resources, Nambija, Dynasty Metals, Cornerstone. La mayoria son de origen canadiense, pais al que se lo considera con la mayor tecnologia en esta area.

Visitas a Montecristi

Desde que se iniciaron las audiencias en la Asamblea, la mesa de Recursos Naturales ha sido visitada por la Facultad de Mineria y Petroleo de la Universidad Central, la Camara Nacional de Mineral, la empresa de extraccion minera Ecuacorriente, el Frente en Defensa de la Naturaleza y la Vida, la Red de Juventudes, el Frente de Mujeres del Pangüi (Zamora Chinchipe) y otras organizaciones.

Cifras

536.387,58

Hectareas. La caducidad de las 587 concesiones mineras, que determino el Ministerio de Minas y Petroleos el viernes pasado, suma un total de 536.387,58 hectareas, en nueve provincias del pais.

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