MINING PARADISE 2012: CODELCO HOPES TO START EXPLORING JUNIN IN 2013
This last Thursday (July 26), the governments of Ecuador and Chile signed a bilateral agreement to strengthen their political, cultural and economic ties. In the economic sphere mining took center stage. I am reproducing the part on mining below, and as you can see, the government of Ecuador would like Codelco to start exploration in the Junin concessions (now called Llurimagua), in the second semester of 2013 (4-5 months after Ecuador’s next elections).
Another aspect of this agreement that stands out is Codelco’s willingness to distort the truth so openly. I am referring to the part in the agreement where it says that Codelco started the process of obtaining the environmental license, and the socialization of the project. The truth is that so far, there has not been any socialization by Codelco within the Llurimagua concession. Another worrisome aspect is them mentioning that they hope to start the advanced phase of exploration, which is much more impacting that the initial exploration (heavier equipment, deeper holes, more drilling). By Ecuadorian law, before advance exploration can take place, the companies have to conclude the initial phase of exploration. And for both, you need comprehensive Environmental Impact Studies.
One can surmise a number of things from this very short extract:
a) Truthfulness is not an issue for either Codelco nor the Ecua government.
b) Ecuador’s government will not demand that Codelco does any kind of legitimate Environmental Impact Assessment. The mid 2013 start date for advanced exploration does not leave enough time to do a proper EIA in such a biodiverse and wet forest area, containing so many species of animals facing extinction.
c) It looks like either the government will exonerate Codelco from doing a initial Environmental Impact Assessment, or they will accept the very poor initial EIA done for another mining site (Paraiso). This EIA was done by another concession owner, it was done for a concession about 10% the size of the new concession; encompassed different altitudes, had considerably less micro watersheds, different types of forests, and different social and cultural settings than the Llurimagua concession. For example, the Paraiso concession hardly had any primary cloud forests, and only had within in, 5 micro watersheds. By contrast, the Llurimagua concession- if as it appears on an official map- encompasses two of ex- Ascendant Copper concessions, which would make it nearly 10,000 hectares; has dozens, and perhaps over one hundred micro, small and medium watersheds, and has more communities within in and adjacent to it than the Paraiso concession. This is an area also rich in pre-Incan archeology sites. Keep in mind that the Paraiso EIA was so badly done, that it was an embarrassment. And this the document that Codelco will probably use in order to forgo doing the EIA for initial exploratory work.
d) Conclusion: The Ecuadorian government will not be looking out for the well being of Intag’s communities or the environment, nor too worried about enforcing it’s own progressive Constitution, or basic laws protecting human rights.
August 4th is the date set for the State owned mining company to meet with some communities in the Junin area. So, keep tuned
The extract follows
(The parts agreed to) in the field of mining, to further strengthen the cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experience. This, under the Interagency Cooperation Agreement on Mining Matters, signed on September 2008 and its amending protocol signed on August 2010
They agreed to further the facilitation of the Cooperation Agreement for Mineral Exploration agreed between the then Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of Ecuador and CODELCO, signed on June 5, 2009 which was ratified, as stated in the Convention itself, with the National Mining Company (ENAMI EP), with the signing of the Agreement for Mineral Exploration by CODELCO ENAMI EP on November 28, 2011 for the duration of four years, renewable in equal and successive periods if the parties so decide .
In the framework of said agreements, CODELCO has undertaken prospecting and exploratory activities in approximately 20 prospects, and of which only one was selected (the Llurimagua prospect) for advanced exploration, and four for followup exploration.
During 2012 the process to obtain the Environmental License and socialization with the authorities and communities began, so as to proceed with exploration work with drilling in the Llurimagua prospect, approximately, during the second semester of 2013.
the complete Agreement is available here> http://www.scribd.com/doc/