UPDATE Like veritable thieves in the night / ACTUALIZACIÓN Como verdaderos ladrones en la noche

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By , March 2, 2013
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NEWS FLASH

Update, Sunday NOON:  people from the communities have been unable to find any trace of the persons who snuck into the Junin area on Friday night.  HOWEVER, we do have confirmed reports that ENAMI will soon start work on  the Environmental Impact Study, out of their field office in Villadorita, about 20 kilometers from JUNIN.  In meantime, people are starting to react.  

 More news soon

On Saturday, we received non-confirmed reports that ENAMI snuck into the area of the area of the Junin community reserve last night,  like veritable  thieves in the night.

They couldn’t do it in plain light,transparently, much less with the community authorization, or with the Ok of local governments, so they forced their way in.

CODELCO, are you listening?  Is this is the way you want to start a project?? Is this what you mean when you say that you always work in full collaboration of the communities?

You sow winds, you will harvest storms

————————————————-

ACTUALIZACIÓN, domingo al mediodía:      la gente de las comunidades no han podido encontrar ningún rastro de las personas que se colaron en el área de Junín en la noche del viernes. Sin embargo,  se ha confirmado de que en estos días ENAMI  comenzará a trabajar en el Estudio de Impacto Ambiental desde su oficina de campo en Villadorita, a unos 20 kilómetros de Junín. En tanto, la gente está empezando a reaccionar. Más noticias en estos días

El sábado recibimos  informes no confirmados de que ENAMI se había colado en el área de la Reserva Comunitaria de Junín comunidad anoche, entre gallos y media noche.

No pudieron hacerlo en plena luz, de forma transparente, y mucho menos con la autorización de la comunidad, o con el visto bueno de los gobiernos locales, por lo que ingresaron a la fuerza.

CODELCO, ¿estás escuchando? ¿Esta es la forma que desean iniciar un proyecto?  ¿Es esto a lo que se refieren cuando alegan que  siempre trabajan en plena colaboración de las comunidades?

Si siembras vientos, cosecharás tempestades

 

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Codelco, Enami exploration project in Ecuador faces bumpy future, possible failure – Ecuador

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By , February 21, 2013
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Foto of primary forested area where Junin copper lies (as soon as i can get it to upload!)

Junin’s primary Cloud Forest where the copper lies

CODELCO, ENAMI EXPLORATION PROJECT IN ECUADOR FACES BUMPY FUTURE, POSSIBLE FAILURE – ECUADOR

(español a continuación)

ALEXANDRA DEMO – DANANBERG

Business News Americas

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 17:15 (GMT -0400)

Despite receiving municipal approval to begin exploration, Chilean state copper producer Codelco and Ecuador’s state miner Enami EP should brace themselves for failure in developing the Junín deposit in the Toisan mountain range in Cotacachi municipality’s Intag area in Ecuador, according to a spokesperson from local grassroots environmental organization Decoin.

 The companies got the green light to go ahead with exploration on February 13, but that decision is being questioned by community members on several points. According to the spokesperson, the 5-4 approval violates legally binding land use and development plans for the area as well as a local ordinance designating the region as a protected area.

 Furthermore, no prior consultation process was carried out, violating communities’ constitutional right to be consulted on any decision that could impact their environment. “That has been violated from day one,” the spokesperson said.

 When contacted regarding the latest development, a Codelco spokesperson told BNamericas that the company could not comment on the matter. Referring in general to Codelco’s work in the country, the spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company “carries out exploration in Ecuador in accordance with its status as a world leader in mining that respects the communities where it operates, fully complies with local regulations and applies the same standards and values that it keeps in Chile.”

 Enami did not immediately respond to requests for a comment.

COMPLICATED HISTORY

 The Junín deposit was first discovered in the ’90s by Japan’s Mitsubishi, which met enough community resistance to lead it to abandon the area following the completion of an environmental impact study for a mining project that identified deforestation and the drying up of the ecosystem as likely impacts, the Decoin spokesperson said, noting that the area’s cloud forest ecosystem is one of the most biodiverse on the planet.

 To continue reading, click here  http://www.bnamericas.com/news/mining/codelco-enami-exploration-project-in-ecuador-faces-bumpy-future-possible-failure) for the full text from BNamericas.

 

Proyecto de exploración Codelco – Enami  en Ecuador enfrenta futuro lleno de dificultades, posible fracaso

A pesar de recibir la aprobación municipal para iniciar la exploración, la cuprífera estatal chilena, Codelco y la minera estatal ecuatoriana Enami EP deben prepararse para el fracaso del desarrollo del yacimiento de Junín en la Cordillera Toisan, zona de Intag, ubicado en el Municipio de Cotacachi, Ecuador, según un portavoz de la organización ambientalista de base Decoin.

Las empresas recibieron la luz verde para seguir adelante con la exploración el 13 de febrero, pero la en varios puntos de la decisión están siendo cuestionada por miembros de la comunidad. Según el portavoz, la aprobación 5-4 viola uso de la tierra y planes de desarrollo para la zona, que son legalmente vinculante, así como una ordenanza local que designa a la región como un área protegida.

Por otra parte, ningún proceso de consulta previa se llevó a cabo, violando el derecho constitucional de las comunidades a ser consultados sobre cualquier decisión que pueda afectar su medio ambiente. “Eso ha sido violada desde el primer día”, dijo el portavoz.

Cuando fue un portavoz de Codelco fue contactado en relación a los últimos acontecimientos,  el portavoz manifestó a BNamericas que la empresa no podía hacer comentarios sobre el asunto. Refiriéndose en general a la labor de Codelco en el país, indicó el vocero en un comunicado por correo electrónico que la empresa “lleva a cabo la exploración en Ecuador, de acuerdo con su condición de líder mundial en minería respetando a las comunidades en las que opera, cumple con las normativas locales y aplica las mismas normas y valores que mantiene en Chile “.

Enami no respondió de inmediato a las solicitudes de comentario.

El resto del artículo (en inglés) aquí:    http://www.bnamericas.com/news/mining/codelco-enami-exploration-project-in-ecuador-faces-bumpy-future-possible-failure) for the full text from BNamericas

Traducido del ingles
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Cotacachi approval of Codelco – Enami mining project sets the stage for widespread conflicts

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By , February 15, 2013
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Cotacachi approval of Codelco –  Enami mining project sets the stage for widespread conflicts

 The main issue on the agenda of the official Municipal session this past Wednesday the 13th, was a vote on awhether to approve or deny a permit needed by the government mining company to continue with its plans to start exploratory activities in Intag’s Toisan range.

 It was a total disgrace.   Seeing the four councilpersons and the indigenous mayor of Cotacachi, Alberto Andrango, trying to justify the reasons why they were, essentially, giving the green light for Codelco and the Ecuadorian mining company, ENAMI, to begin mining activities in Intag.  For those present, the decision reeked of political complicity, given that the five who approved the resolution were members of President Correa’s party, or close allies.

 The consequences, given Intag’s long history of violent conflicts and human rights violations spawned by mining, and the area’s successful resistance, are not very difficult to imagine.

 The appalling action will, I’m sure, come to haunt the Cotacachi Municipal government and undoubtedly, impact the feasibility of the proposed mining activities.  The reasons are simple.  The decision  completely overlooked civil society concerns and clear legal and Constitutional issues that were so eloquently expressed in the session by the three opposing councilmembers and one civil society representative with voting privileges. These issues were supported by the 15 leaders of Intag’s communities, organizations and Township governments who were present at the meeting (see photo below). The legal issues include, but are not limited to, the Constitutional right to prior consultation, which was flagrantly violated, as well as the right of Ecuador’s citizen to live in a culture of peace.  The Constitutional right to Sumak Kawsay, or a good or harmonious life, also stands as a main obstacle for the project to overcome.

 Economic and land development plans, both at the Township and Municipal government levels, were also outrageously violated.  Nowhere do the plans contemplate mining as a driver of the economy.  In fact, the Plans openly support tourism, sustainable agricultural and ranching as well as small scale business enterprises.  The civil society members also pointed out that the mining concessions are within the Municipality’s own protected area. Mining would violate the protected area’s mandate.  Additionally, mining activities would be in clear violation of the Ecological Ordinance, approved by the Cotacachi Municipal government in the year 2000. Until the Constitutional Tribunal rules otherwise, the Ordinance is a valid local law.

 By so outrageously disregarding valid civil society concerns and Constitutional and other legal issues, the decision will not only fuel the ever present indignation, but will reawaken and strengthen the opposition. The 5 to 4 decision will give communities even more reasons to oppose a project that they’ve always seen as illegal, and which betrays fundamental political, environmental and human rights directives as set forth in local and national legislation, and the country’s own Constitution.

 Given the above scenario, there is no way that civil strife will be avoided.   In other words, CODELCO’s first mining project in Ecuador is off to a very rough start…..to say the least.

Session Gob Cotacachi 13-2-13

                                                           Polibio Pérez expressing Intag’s communitie’s concerns at the Feb 13 session

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DECOIN’S WORK, 2012

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By , January 2, 2013
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DECOIN’S WORK, 2012

Español favor usar   http://translate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wT

Forest Protection
Reforestation
Environmental Education
Casa de Intag
Irubí Project
Publications
The Resistance Continues!
Looking Ahead

Tis that time of year: What DECOIN has managed to get done this past year, and a quick round up of main achievements to date.

Before continuing, we would like to thank Rainforest Concern, The Threshold Foundation, Rettet den Regenwald, Geo schutzt den Regenwald and Lichtblick, The Sloth Club, as well as the individuals like David Walstrom and the students at Connecticut College, who actively support our work.

TO EACH AND EVERYONE, THANK YOU FOR HELPING US ACHIEVE SO MUCH

FOREST PROTECTION

Wathershed and Conservation.
The Cuellaje Integral Conservation Project, with help from “GEO schützt den Regenwald e.V.” (Germany), is a holistic conservation project in the Cristopamba watershed that encompasses support of productive activities, conservation and environmental education aimed at protecting the Cristopamba river, one of Intag’s most beautiful and clean rivers.  In the Cuellaje area, to date (June 2013), the project has acquired 2639 hectares of mostly primary cloud forests bordering the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve and handed them over to the Cuellaje government and its communities for administration. In other sub-watersheds in Intag, several other reserves covering a total of 2213 hectares  are in the hands of the governments of Apuela,  Peñaherrera and García Moreno.  This project started in 2005 and is ongoing.

“This year, with the support of  “GEO schützt den Regenwald e.V.” we were able to add 887 hectares of a very important patch of cloud forest to the new Peñaherrera local government reserve. This gives us a total of 1,534 additioal hectares that as of 2013 are being protected.  With Rainforest Concern, we purchased a total of 647 hectares to add to the Neblina Reserve. Armando Almeida’s and Silvia Quilumbango’s work in purchasing and legalizing the land was nothing short of extraordinary; the bureaucracy has gotten nightmarish for land acquisition: One land deal took about 4 months to complete and more than 10 trips to Cotacachi to deal with the municipality and the land registrar.

COMMUNITY HYDROLOGICAL RESERVES.

If you are looking to support or reproduce elsewhere the most effective conservation initiative, look no further. 37 communities have hydrological reserves protecting just over 1000 hectares of forests and wildlife. The community reserves also are providing thousands of Intag residents with safe water. I suspect the number of people now drinking safe water in Intag is now over 5,000. Earlier in the year Karen Knee, did her PhD. thesis on the quality of Intag’s drinking water. DECOIN published the report and is in the process of getting it to health, community and local government officials. One of the main findings: the water coming from the community reserves are equal in quality as that coming from fully forested protected areas. I honestly do not know a more effective conservation initiative than this one. Reason? Communities have a direct and vested interest in protecting their sources of drinking water. It opens a door to transmit important messages on the ethics of conservation. People experience firsthand the importance and practicality of conserving forests and biodiversity. Where laws often fail (nearly always) to protect protected areas in countries like Ecuador, communities will not let “their” community reserves be degraded….

TOTAL PROTECTED AREAS (to date): 45

37 community Reserves 1,100 hectares (see list of communities below)
JUNIN Community Reserve,, 1,500 hectares
Cuellaje Parish Government Reserve 2,731 hectares
Apuela Parish Government Reserve 1,074 hectares
Peñaherrera Parish Government Reserve 903 hectares
Garcia Moreno Parish Government Reserve 66 hectares
Neblina Reserve 1,676 hectares
Flor de Mayo 120 ha
Pajas de oro 150 ha

Total: 9,412 hectares, or 23,906 acres

If you take into consideration another 1,500 hectares that are now part of the Chontal protected forest, but which was once part of the Junin Community Reserve, made possible by the support of Rettet den Regenwald, the real total that we have helped conserve is 10, 912 hectares., or 27, 716 acres!!

REFORESTATION: To date, we have helped the communities reforest 83,400 trees, reforesting a total of about 50 hectares (all part of the community hydrological reserves). Of the about 30 species used, about 75% are native. One of the more important achievements related to the reforestation work is the generation of valuable information on reforestation with native species in cloud forests. Several students from the U.S. and Canada have helped gather, validate, and organize the information (Thank You Sarah Wilson!), and we managed to publish a pretty complete manual on the topic to help communities here and elsewhere, with this very important work.

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
In the long run, without folks understanding why we are conserving large swaths of forests, there is no way they will be conserved (this holds true for all of the official government reserves, by the way) This is why protection without education is bound to fail. And it is why we are spending more and more time and energy and funds on it. Lately Milton Arcos and our secretary, Wilian Navarrete have been giving a series of workshops on environmental concepts in 10 schools (thank you Angela!!). It’s a start, but there are more than 80 schools in Intag, and the official school curriculum sucks when it comes to Environmental Ed. LOTS of work ahead.

CASA DE INTAG
The Fair-trade store that DECOIN opened in Otavalo about 4 years ago to sell goods made by local groups in Intag is still going strong. In fact, it’s still the only Fair Trade store in Otavalo. Besides selling sisal and Tagua handicrafts, hand-made soaps and shampoos, and luffa goodies, the store offers cafeteria service, including freshly brewed RIO INTAG coffee. Next time you are in Otavalo visit us at Calle Colon 4655 and Sucre.

THE IRUBÍ WORK.

We have been working with the community of Irubí during the past year and more. The project established a community fruit and forest tree nursery and includes reforestation with native species, as well as training local community members in fruit tree and forest tree production.

 

PUBLICATIONS.
Besides the book on Intag’s water quality, we are distributing Earth Economics “An Ecological Study of Ecuador’s Intag Region”. The book includes very sound economic arguments showing why mining is less economical than preserving the area’s forests, rivers and biological diversity. The book is already in the hands of dozens of Assembly members, well-known politicians, academics and other influential actors. We are also in the process of distributing it to local governments, organizations and key community members here in Intag (download it here: http://www.eartheconomics.org/FileLibrary/file/Reports/Final%20Intag%20Report_lo_res.pdf

 

FUNDING::: Sorry, but I have to mention that funding was low to very low this past year; especially to cover administrative costs. A lot of the ongoing work above depends on DECOIN having enough funds to pay our people a decent wage- and this is increasingly becoming more difficult. Some of those wages (including administrative costs) are not directly connected to a specific project, yet are absolutely essential to sustain organization like ours. In the past, the Threshold Foundation was instrumental in seeing and helping out with this essential need; however, and as we all know, all good things eventually come to an end, and Threshold will not be able to fund DECOIN this year. We hope that will change next year, but until then consider increasing your support.

MISC:  This is by no means all we’ve accomplished.  Also, there’s no time to go into the details of the many other activities we are working on and will be working on during 2013; such submitting observations to the Provincial Government highlighting the more obvious (very grave) errors with an environmental impact study for the paving of the Intag road that may impact several protected species, including within the Neblina Protected Forest.

LOOKING AHEAD
2013 promises to be one of the most difficult years for Intag- especially if the Ecuadorian government decides to reactivate the Junin mining project. Therefore, I suspect we will spend a lot of time on mining again, unfortunately. This includes, among many other things, holding a lot more meetings, conferences and workshops on the issues; expanding alliances, producing and/or distributing more educational information (posters, brochures, videos), and seeking legal remedies to the mining curse.

However, we are also looking to expand both the number of community protected areas, and expand existing ones. We also hope to be able to continue and expand our environmental education work in schools, as well as keep supporting the Irubí community. In other words, full speed ahead as usual!  We will also try, as in years past when we created the Rio Intag coffee project and helped develop the Junin ecotourism initiative, to look for and develop economic alternatives to mining.

IF you appreciate what we have managed to do so far, and value what we are currently doing, please dig in your wallets and give us a hand in 2013

Thank you

Carlos Zorrilla
Executive Director
DECOIN
Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag

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DEC 2012 UPDATE

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By , December 20, 2012
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MINING UPDATE DEC 2012:

(Español tan pronto tenga una oportunidad)

 Important dates

Road and more

Is mining inevitable in Intag?

 IMPORTANT DATES IN THE MINING RESISTANCE:

It’s been six years and two weeks since Copper Mesa paid for the paramilitary attack on Junin.  Six years and 45 days since the paramilitary attacked the communities of Cerro Pelado and Barcelona; paid by none other than Copper Mesa.  Six years and two months- almost to the day- since the 19 heavily armed police burst into my home intent on arresting me based on completely made up charges paid by someone working for Copper Mesa.

 Two years and 11 months ago, Copper Mesa got delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange, and finally left us alone. It´s been fourteen and a half years since Mitsubishi subsidiary left the Intag area due to community opposition.

 In two weeks it’ll be DECOIN’s 18th anniversary. Eighteen years ago the resistance to mining began.  Just in case you are wondering, there is definitely a coincidence.

 ROAD

As of September or maybe August of this year, the provincial government started the paving and widening of the Cuicocha-Apuela-Garcia Moreno road.  Weirdly enough, the Environmental Impact Statement (which is about the worse EIA I’ve ever read), was turned in for approval to the Ministry of the Environment, only yesterday. Corruption? What, here in Ecuador?? Nah… (Recently Transparency International placed Ecuador # 116 out of 176 countries in the corruption index.. and one of the most corrupt in Latin America).

 Anyway, the road crews are still high up in the Paramo, still a ways off from Intag, but slowly making their way.  And, as expected, the road has caused land prices to go UP; making it harder to buy forested land for the communities.  But soon we’ll have some great news on this front.

 IS MINING INEVITABLE IN INTAG IF CORREA GETS ELECTED?

 Now, here we are, December 2012 and, happily, there’s not much to report in regards to mining.  All is pretty quiet here in Intag.  HOWEVER!!

 However, I am taking time to write this on this stormy Wednesday in the hopes of  dispelling the erroneous impression that if Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s current president is reelected, mining will become an inevitability here in Intag.

 If you have this impression, probably recently acquired from a fundraising letter, you are wrong.

 Let me give you a quick summary why, and why it is counterproductive to hold and spread this impression.

 POLITICS.

First, let’s set the record straight.  Correa has been interested in opening up Junin since he came to power six years ago.  One of the reasons his government has been unable to do much here is that he faces opposition from within his own party to mine in Intag.  The Intag struggle is widely known in Ecuador, and has more than a few supporters in the National Assembly.

 And now that I mentioned the Assembly, even if Correa were to win, he also needs to win a large majority in the Assembly to get the support he needs to open up Junin to mining.  That does not necessarily mean that he won’t try without a large majority in the Assembly.  This is one of the more authoritative governments in recent history.  However, without significant support from the Legislative, it’ll be much harder, and the political costs may be too high.

 The Economics of mining in Intag

Before a mine is actually opened, a lot has to happen.  For example, no one really even knows if the copper deposit in Intag is economically feasible to mine.  The Japanese inferred the possibility of 2.26 million tons.  But that is only a possibility.  Years of more exploration work has to take place before the deposit is considered proven.  Perhaps as much as eight more years of exploration.

 Even if they find a lot of copper, it could very well turn out that the ore deposit is be too deep (there is strong indication of this); that the metallic content of the deposit is too low in the areas not yet explored; and copper could experience a drop in price, to mention just three of many factors that may make the Junin mining project uneconomic (for example, the deeper a metal deposit is, the more expensive to mine, and the more damaging the impacts and restoration)

Also important to keep in mind that there has never been so much resistance to mining in Ecuador.  All of Ecuador’s important indigenous organizations are vehemently opposed to petroleum and now mining extraction in their territory. They have also developing strong ties with the rest of the anti-mining centers in the country.  Including us here in Intag.  This is a very crucial development, that will make most politicians think twice before imposing any mining project anywhere in the country.

 Environmental reasons.

These have been brought up numerous times, but basically, the Junin mining project is exceedingly difficult place to do large-scale mining.  It rains a lot; it is very, very steep, and there is strong seismic risks.  Not to mention that it will impact primary forests which are home to dozens of endangered species of mammals and birds. It will also impact one of Ecuador’s most biodiverse protected areas, The Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve- which will certainly provoke national and international outcry.

 There are many other environmental reasons why mining will be difficult in Junin, but we’ll save them for another time.

 SOCIAL REASONS.

 Organized Resistance

As you are aware, there is a long history of successful organized resistance to mining in Intag. Any new mining activity will have to deal with this very important fact; making it that much less appealing for any company, whether private or state-owned.

 Relocation

Open pit mining cannot take place in the Junin concessions without the forceful relocation of several communities.  At least four, according to the 1996 environmental impacts study, but more likely six communities will have to be relocated for a large open pit mine.  This is a nightmare scenario for any government, and a very heavy political price will have to be paid for it.  Keep in mind that the new Constitution gives people and communities the right to resist if a government action or omission imperils their Constitutional rights.  Forced relocation would be definitely fall within one of those imperiled rights.

 What company wants to deal with all this?  The National Mining company?  They cannot do anything alone, since Ecuador has zero experience with large-scale metal mines.  Without a large multinational mining company, it just won’t happen.  There is the possibility that a Chinese company can fill the void- but that will transform the stage quickly against the government.

 These are just a few of the reasons that mining is not a foregone conclusion if President Correa is reelected.

 For sure, there is a possibility that the Correa government will succeed in initiating exploratory activities in Intag with CODELCO this coming year. It will not be easy.  For one thing, it means spending a lot of money to try to win minimum support for mining; something they tried to do early this year, and failed at-  but which they may want to resume early 2013.  Why? Would Correa take these risks?  Basically because this government needs $$$$ to pay for the so-called socialist programs they are implementing, and the Chinese need copper.  Ecuador is looking at a  six billion dollar deficit for 2013……

 In the unlikely scenario that CODELCO and ENAMI are able to start exploration activities in 2013, it will not change Intag much beyond what the Canadians did here a few years ago.  It will cause more divisions, more temporary social upheaval, but everything will return to normal once they leave after discovering that economically, environmentally and socially the price of mining is not worth paying.  What is unknown, is how much social damage they will do in the interim.

 Thus, highlighting the high cost of mining in Intag depends on all of us. One thing is for sure, Intag will not be able to resist without international support; without your support.

 For that reason we cannot afford to be burdened with pessimistically thinking that mining is inevitable if Correa wins the elections this coming February. Not only is it an erroneous judgment, in my opinion, more importantly, it creates a pessimism that can impact our struggle.

 Mining, a likely threat?

Let me remind everyone that the mining threat for us is nothing new.  It has been around since Bishimetals starting exploratory activities in the early 1990’s. It became more “real” when it published its finding in 1996 and 1998, and became more real yet in 2004 when Copper Mesa thugs rolled into town.  And, the threat will haunt Intag as long as there is copper underneath the Toisan Range, and there are greedy CEO’s and corrupt politicians.  In other words, for the foreseeable future, and beyond.

 What we can do is to continue what we have been doing these past 18 years, including: helping create alternative, sustainable alternatives to mining, educating people (and politicians) on the importance of conserving what we have left while, at the same time, conserving as much forests and watersheds as possible..  We can continue to do this with your support.  Alone, there is just no hope.  Please get in touch if you want to donate.     These are crucial times.

 Let me take the opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for your support, and to wish you a happy holiday season.

 As soon as I find a little bit of time, Ill post  our end-of-year report on what we been up to during 2012.

Carlos ZorrIlla

 

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Another Nail in Codelco’s Coffin

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By , November 27, 2012
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Mining in Paradise: The New Season: Another nail in Codelco’s coffin.

Heck this season may be over before you know it.

And this has to do with the fact that yesterday, Sunday the 25th of November (a day both Codelco and Enami will like to forget), the hundreds of participates at the  Cotacachi County People’s Assembly (Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal), voted on a number of important resolutions, including two on mining (in the case of mining there were no votes against the resolution). But first a very brief on the Assembly.  It is an annual event started in 1996 (or 97) by which the Municipal government opens its doors, with close assistance by the Asamblea Cantonal- a civil society organization- to hear opinions, ideas, denunciations about the government’s job, and to include citizen’s resolutions for both civil society and the government to implement for the following year.   AS IN ALL THE PREVIOUS ASSEMBLIES, this one also rejected mining in Intag and called for both Enami and Codelco to get the hell out of Intag- pronto!    Does that mean that this project may be dead on arrival?  Perhaps pre-arrival.

Given that said resolutions have to be adhered to by the Municipal government, life just got a lot more complicated for Enami and Codelco.  A lot more.

…………………………………

Minando el Paraís: La Nueva Temporada: Otro clavo en el ataúd de Codelco.

Esta temporada puede concluir mucho antes de lo esperado.

Y esto tiene que ver con el hecho de que ayer, domingo 25 de noviembre (un día que Codelco y Enami quisieran olvidar),  cientos de ciudadanas y ciudadanos del Cantón Cotacachi, participando en la  Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal, aprobaron por mayoría absoluta   un buen número de las resoluciones importantes, entre ellas dos en sobre minería (en el caso de la resolucion en contra de la miería no hubo ni unvoto en contra). Pero primero una muy breve descripcion de lo que es la Asamblea. El evento anual comenzó en 1996 (o 97) por el cual el gobierno municipal abre sus puertas, acompañado estrechamente de la Asamblea Cantonal, una organizacion de la sociedad civil,  con la finalidad de escuchar opiniones, ideas, y denuncias sobre el trabajo del gobierno, orientar el trabajo del municipio y las organizaiones, y aprobar resoluciones tanto para que la sociedad civil y el gobierno las pongan en práctica- Es decir, una forma de gobierno partipativo . Como en todas las asambleas anteriores, ésta también rechazó la minería en Intag y pidió que tanto Enami y Codelco salgan de Intag- y pronto!

Dado que las resoluciones deberían ser acatadas por el gobierno MUNICIPAL, ayer se le hizo la vida mucho más dificil a los Enamis y Codelcos.

 

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LETTER FROM INTAG’S ORGANIZATIONS TO CHILE’S PRESIDENT / CARTA DE ORGANIZACIONES INTEÑAS AL PRESIDENTE DE CHILE

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By , November 10, 2012
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CODELCO IN ECUADOR- THE NEW SEASON:  LETTER FROM INTAG’S ORGANIZATIONS TO CHILE’S PRESIDENT

CARTA DE ORGANIZACIONES INTEÑAS AL PRESIDENTE DE CHILE

        ((ENTREGADA EL 8 DE NOVIEMBRE 2012; Delivered, nov 8, 2012 ) Apologies for the messed up formatting

   This is the letter that Intag’s organization sent to Chile’s president.  It was delivered to the Presidential Palace on November 8, 2012

Intag, Imbabura, Ecuador. October 26, 2012

 Sebastian Pinera Echenique

Constitutional President of Chile

Presidency of the Republic

Santiago de Chile

Chile

 Dear Mr. President,

 Our warmest regards from those of us who form part of the executive boards of the organizations from the Zona de Intag, Imbabura Province, Ecuador.

 We are writing to express our deep concern about the possible intervention of CODELCO in our area in a copper mining project called Llurimagua.

 As is common knowledge, on July 26 of this year the governments of Chile and Ecuador signed an agreement in Santiago that, among other things, gave  green light for CODELCO to begin the advanced exploration within the Llurimagua concession, starting the second semester of 2013.  Intag/s Communities and organizations consider the agreement invalid, for violating certain rights Constitutional rights enshrined in our Constitution, including the right to prior consultation and the right to a Good Life (Sumak Kawsay).

 The goal of the agreement is to develop what would be a mega copper project in the Cordillera de Toisán, a pristine area exceptionally rich in water resources and cloud forests that are home to dozens of species of mammals, birds and other endangered species.

 Given that CODELCO is a Chilean state enterprise, and therefore property of all Chilean citizens, we would like to present to you, as the highest civil authority, some information about the project that help explain why it has been rejected by the communities, organizations and local governments since the subsidiary of the Mitsubishi failed to develop the mine in this location in the 1990s.

The objective of the following information is intended to provide you with information in order to have Codelco desist from involvement in this devastating mining project.

 1. Biodiversity. As mentioned above, the mining area is located in an area exceptionally rich in forests, which not only protect dozens of pristine watersheds, but that are home to dozens of endangered species. In the only EIA undertaken for this particular mining project by Japanese experts and based on a small copper mine (of only 450,000 tons of pure copper) it identified 12 species threatened with extinction that would be impacted by the mining project. These include the spectacled bear, mountain tapir, the critically endangered brown-headed spider monkey, and jaguars. Given that the Japanese did not thoroughly study the impacts on amphibians, reptiles and other groups of organisms, the environmental organization DECOIN, determined the presence of at least 50 endangered species that could be impacted by this project.

 2. Deforestation. The environmental impact study mentioned earlier,  would, in the words of the authors, cause “massive deforestation”, by the mining project. So massive, that the authors predicted that our climate would dry up; even so far as to use the term “desertification” to describe the impact on our area.

 3. Rainfall. The Cordillera del Toisán receives approximately 3,000 millimeters of rain annually. In El Niño years, rainfall may increase up to 50%. This makes mining extremely dangerous, and much more impacting than in the Atacama Desert, where CODELCO operates most of its mines.

 4. Pollution. In the EIA the Japanese predicted that our rivers would be polluted with heavy heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium and chromium, among others.

 5. Impacts to protected areas. Much of the Llurimagua mining area, Mr. President, is in the midst of Toisán Municipal Protected Area, which covers 18,000 hectares. In addition, it is adjacent to the Chontal Protected Forest, and directly affects hundreds of acres of Junin Community Reserve. This last reserve has been managed by the community of Junín and other surrounding communities since 1996, and is part of the community tourism project in the same community. Moreover, the EIA prognosticated impacts on the biodiverse Cotacachi-Cayapas, one of the most biodiverse protected areas in the world, and the only one of importance in western Ecuador.

 6. Social impacts. The authors of the EIA which, it’s worth underlining, was developed for a small copper mine, also predicted that four communities would have to be relocated. In those years, this involved the relocation of over 100 families. At present, and due to subsequent findings, it could now involve relocating at least six communities.

 7. Mineral content of the site. We are aware that the Ecuadorian government is selling this mining project as among the world’s richest copper deposit. The reality is different, and very different. The copper deposit has never been proven, it is only inferred in nature, according to the only explorations performed by the Japanese in 1990s. This is because the Japanese had to abandon the project before completing the exploration due to the categorical opposition by communities and local governments.   In other words, the fantastic figure of millions of tons of copper in the Cordillera de Toisán that the government promotes, is pure fantasy.

 It is important to stress that the above impacts were based on only mine 450,000 tons of copper. After publishing the EIA, the Japanese inferred the possible presence of five times more copper, which would dramatically increase the social and environmental impacts mentioned above.

 The rejection by local governments and communities to mining has been consolidating over the years, and as a result, Canadian mining  company Copper Mesa was expulsed in 2010. Such was the rejection of mining in our area, that the company couldn’t even access its concessions in order to explore. The presence of Copper Mesa caused major social conflicts in our communities, and was caused flagrant violations of our human and collective rights; impacts that we still feel.

 Instead of the  environmental destruction and social conflict that is synonymous with large-scale mining, our area has been developing a wide range of sustainable production projects, which do not threaten the environment, and strengthen communities and local economies, as for example, nature and community tourism; shade-grown coffee production and agroecological production, among many other alternatives.

 These alternatives ensure Good Living for successive generations, and give life to our communities.

Intag’s communities and organizations, together with local governments, have already expelled two transnational companies who tried to develop large-scale mining in our area. Therefore, more than ever Intag civil society, with support from other sectors of our province and the country, are permanently vigilant in order to protect our right to choose a future free of mining, and will not allow this mining project to mining.

 For these reasons Mr. President, we hope you understand our demand and ask you to do everything in your power to stop CODELCO’s intervention in the Llurimagua mining project in Intag.

 Sincerely,

                                                   Signed by:

 

Isabel Anangonó                                                                              Jose Rivera

President                                                                                            President

Intag Women Coordinator                                                    Association of Coffee Producers  RIO INTAG

Representing 12 organizations                                                In representation of 450 coffee producers

 

Alex Bolaños

President                                                                                                           Dayana Herrera  Associations                                                                                                      President

Eco Tourism Network Intag                                                                       Intag Youth Coordinator

                                                                                                                     Representing 11 organizations

José Cueva                                                                                                                               Silvia Quilumbango

CEO                                                                                                                            Ecological Defense and Conservation of Intag

Consortium Toisan

Representing   7 Organizations

 Victor Lomas

Talleres Gran Valle

Representing several productive groups

 

Zona de Intag, Imbabura, Ecuador.  26 de octubre 2012

 

EN ESPAÑOL

Señor Sebastián Piñera Echenique

Presidente Constitucional de Chile

Presidencia de la República

Santiago de Chile

Chile

 

Estimado Señor Presidente,

 

Reciba un afectuoso saludo de quienes conformamos las directivas de las organizaciones de la Zona de Intag, Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador.

Le escribimos para expresar nuestra profunda preocupación sobre la posible intervención de CODELCO en nuestra zona en un proyecto minero cuprífero denominado Llurimagua.

Como es de conocimiento público, el 26 de julio del año en curso los gobiernos de Chile y Ecuador firmaron un convenio en Santiago que, entre otros puntos, le dio la luz verde para que la CODELCO inicie la fase de exploración avanzada dentro de la concesión minera Llurimagua a partir del segundo semestre del 2013. Las comunidades y organizaciones consideramos inválido dicho convenio, por violar ciertos derechos consagrados en la Constitución, incluyendo el derecho a la consulta previa, y el derecho al Buen Vivir.

La intención de la firma del convenio tiene por objetivo desarrollar lo que sería un mega proyecto cuprífero en la Cordillera de Toisán, una área prístina, excepcionalmente rica en recursos hídricos y en bosques primarios nublados  que albergan a  decenas de especies de mamíferos, aves y otras especies en peligro de extinción.

En vista que CODELCO es una empresa estatal chilena, y por ende, de propiedad de todos los ciudadanos y ciudadanas chilenos, queremos exponer  ante Usted, como máxima autoridad civil, algunos datos sobre este proyecto que ayudan a explicar por qué ha sido rechazado por las comunidades, organizaciones y gobiernos locales desde que la subsidiaria de la Mitsubishi fracasó en su intento de desarrollar la mina en esta localidad en los años 1990.

El objetivo de la siguiente información tiene la finalidad de proveerle información para que desista de involucrarle a CODELCO en este devastador proyecto minero.

1.       Biodiversidad.  Como mencionamos anteriormente, la zona minera se encuentra en un área excepcionalmente rica en bosques primarios que no solo protegen a decenas de prístinas micro cuencas, sino que son el hogar de decenas de especies en peligro de extinción.  En el único Estudio de Impacto Ambiental para la explotación, elaborado por expertos japoneses para una pequeña mina de cobre (de tan solo 450.000 toneladas de cobre puro) se identificó 12 especies amenazados por la extinción que serían impactadas por el proyecto minero. Estos incluyen a osos de anteojos, tapires de montaña, mono araña cabeci-café, y jaguares.  En vista que los japoneses no estudiaron a fondo el impacto a anfibios, reptiles y otros grupos de organismos, la organización ambientalista DECOIN, determinó la presencia de no menos de 50 especies en peligro de extinción que podrían ser impactadas por este proyecto.

2.       Deforestación.  El mencionado documento de impacto ambiental mencionó, en palabras de los autores de la obra, que se daría “una deforestación masiva”, por el proyecto minero. Tan masiva incluso, que los autores pronosticaron que nuestro clima se secaría; llegando a utilizar el término “desertificación” para describir el impacto en nuestra zona.

3.

p          Pluviosidad.  La Cordillera del Toisán recibe aproximadamente 3.000 milímetros de lluvia anualmente.  En años del fenómeno El Niño, la pluviosidad puede aumentar hasta un 50%.  Esto hace la minería extremadamente peligrosa, y mucho más impactante que en el desierto de Atacama, donde CODELCO opera la mayoría de sus minas.

4.

         Contaminación.  En el mencionado Estudio de Impacto Ambiental, los japoneses pronosticaron que nuestros ríos se contaminarían con metales pesados, incluyendo plomo, arsénico, cadmio y cromo, entre otros.

5.                Impactos a áreas protegidas.  Una buena parte del área minera Llurimagua, Señor Presidente, se encuentra en medio de la Área Protegida Municipal Toisán, la cual abarca 18.000 hectáreas.  Además, colinda con el Bosque Protector Chontal, y afecta directamente a cientos de hectáreas de la Reserva Comunitaria Junín.  Esta última reserva ha sido manejada por los comuneros de Junín y otras comunidades aledañas desde 1996, y es parte del proyecto turístico comunitario de la misma comunidad.   Por otra parte, el mencionado Estudio de Impacto Ambiental prevé impactos a la biodiversa Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas, una de las áreas protegidas más biodiversas del mundo, y la única de importancia para todo el occidente ecuatoriano.

6.                           Impactos sociales.  Los autores del Estudio de Impacto Ambiental- que fue elaborada para una pequeña mina de cobre- también pronosticaron que cuatro comunidades tendrían que ser reubicadas.  En esos años, esto implicaba la reubicación de más de 100 familias. En la actualidad, y debido a posteriores hallazgos, podría implicar la reubicación de por lo menos seis comunidades.

7.                                 Contenido del yacimiento.  Conocemos que el gobierno ecuatoriano trata de vender este proyecto minero como entre los más ricos en cobre del mundo.  La realidad es otra, y muy diferente.  El yacimiento de cobre nunca ha sido probado; es solo de carácter posible, según las únicas exploraciones realizadas por los japoneses en los años 1990.  Esto se debe a que los japoneses tuvieron que abandonar el proyecto antes de terminar la exploración debido al tajante rechazo de las comunidades y gobiernos locales.  Es decir, la fantástica cifra de millones de toneladas de cobre bajo la Cordillera de Toisán que el gobierno promueve, es puro fantasía.

 

Es importante subrayar que los mencionados impactos se basaron en una mina de tan solo 450.000 toneladas de cobre. Después de publicar el Estudio de Impacto Ambiental, los japoneses infirieron la posible presencia de cinco veces más cobre, lo cual incrementaría de forma espectacular los impactos sociales y ambientales arriba mencionados.

 

El rechazo expresado por los gobiernos locales y comunidades ante la minería se ha venido consolidando con los años, y como consecuencia, tuvo la expulsión de la minera canadiense, Copper Mesa, en el 2010. Tanto fue el rechazo a la minería en nuestra zona, que esta empresa ni siquiera pudo entrar a las concesiones para explorar.   La presencia de Copper Mesa causó grandes conflictos sociales en nuestras comunidades, y fue causante de flagrantes violaciones a nuestros derechos humanos y colectivos;  impactos que hasta ahora sentimos.

 

En vez de la destrucción ambiental y conflictos sociales que es sinónimo de la minería a gran escala, nuestra zona ha venido desarrollando una gama de proyectos productivos sustentables, que no atentan contra el medio ambiente, y fortalecen a las comunidades y economías locales; como es el turismo de naturaleza y comunitario; producción de café bajo sombra, y producción agroecológica, entre muchas otras alternativas.  Estas alternativas garantizan un Buen Vivir para nuestros sucesores, y le dan vida  a nuestras comunidades.

 

Las comunidades y organizaciones de Intag, juntamente con los gobiernos locales, ya han expulsado a dos empresas transnacionales que intentaron desarrollar la minería a gran escala en nuestra zona.  Por tanto, hoy más que nunca la sociedad civil de Intag, con apoyo de otros sectores de nuestra provincia y del país,  está en pie de lucha para proteger nuestro derecho a escoger un futuro libre de minería, y no permitir que se reanude este proyecto minero.

 

Por todo lo expuesto Señor Presidente, esperamos que entienda nuestro reclamo y que haga todo en cuanto está a su alcance para frenar la intervención de la CODELCO en el desarrollo del proyecto minero Llurimagua, en la zona de Intag.

 

Atentamente,

FIRMADO POR

 

 

Isabel Anangonó                                                                José Rivera

Presidenta                                                                            Presidente

Coordinadora de Mujeres de Intag                            Asociación Agro artesanal de Cafeteros Río Intag

Representando a 12 organizaciones                         Agrupa y representa a 450 cafeteros

 

 

                    Alex Bolaños

Presidente                                                                              Dayana Herrera

Red Eco turística de Intag                                                Coordinadora de Jóvenes de Intag

En representación de 11 Asociaciones                      Representando a 7 organizaciones

 

 

José Cueva                                                                       Silvia Quilumbango

Director Ejecutivo                                                                Presidenta

Consorcio Toisán                                                            Defensa y Conservación de Intag

Representando a 9 Organizaciones

 

                                                                        Víctor Lomas

Corporación Talleres Gran Valle

  Agrupando a  grupos productivos

 

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Noticias sobre Codelco en Intag/ News About Codelco in Intag

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By , November 6, 2012
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Los interesados en informarse sobre los últimos acontecimientos relacionados a la presencia de Codelco en Intag, visite este blog:  http://codelcofueradeintag.blogspot.com/

For those interested in news about Codelco in Intag, please visit this blog:  http://codelcofueradeintag.blogspot.com/

 

 

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Intag residents travel to Chile in Style,, Inteños viajan a Chile con el Presidente del Ecuador

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By , October 27, 2012
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NOTE- FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN MORE DETAILS ABOUT CODELCO’S PRESENCE HERE, GO TO THIS SITE: http://codelcofueradeintag.blogspot.com/

Para los interesados en más detalles sobre la presencia de Codelco en Intag,   ver http://codelcofueradeintag.blogspot.com/

Intag Folks go to Chile in Style (Spanish below)

Part of the agenda included talks on reviving the Junin project

 This past 25th and 26th the president of Ecuador travelled with a bunch of officials to Chile to promote his new book, From a Banana Republic to the Non Republic.  But before speaking at the book fair in Santiago, he went to Calama, high up in Chile’s Atacama Desert to visit Gaby, at a large-scale open pit copper mine belonging to Chile’s copper mining company, Codelco.

Correa didn’t travel alone to Gaby, he went with a host of official visitors, including four Intag residents who were invited the day before the trip; Shisela Morales, the President of Garcia Moreno Parish government, her vice president, plus the president of the Junín community and a representative of an agricultural organization in the Parish.   Needless to say, Correa chose an agricultural organization that is pro-mining, in that it receives a sizable monthly stipend from a small gold mine in the area; shut-up money as sometimes it’s referred as.  Thanks to Ecuadorian taxpayers, all four Intag residents, I am told, were able to fly in style, experiencing travelling in a presidential jet (or, more likely, one contracted specifically for the president’s trip).

The objective of the visit to Gaby, though not publicly stated but obvious as hell, was to try to convince the Intag folks of the benefits and feasibility of open-pit mining in Intag.  It must have been interesting for everyone to see an open-pit mining in the world’s driest desert, where years can sometimes go by without any precipitation whatsoever.  It must also have stretched everyone’s imagination to the breaking point to try to imagine such a mine in one of the world’s most biodiverse and rainy areas. I don’t think it’s possible unless you’ve seen what open pit mining can do in similar ecosystems such as ours, including the Ok Tedi  copper-gold mine in Papua New Guinea, where it’s devastated 300,000 hectares of land and rivers (750,000 acres).  Visit this site to see some Chilean copper mines in the Atacama Desert close to Gaby https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B9kKrl6DxURrUFJBazBIQ0t1WEE/edit

Though barely reported in the news (only in one news service(1), Correa went with other officials who were busy talking to Codelco about restarting the Junin project.  It is very likely that Intag’s residents sat in on the negotiations.  What tales they will tell if they decide to be open about their trip!!  So, the trip confirms the government’s plans to go ahead with the plan reactivation of mining activities in Junin during the second semester of 2013.

Intag responded immediately to the latest strategy to buy political support to a destructive project.  Eight of Intag’s largest organization signed a petition to Chile’s president informing him of the reasons of Intag’s opposition to mining and making sure that Codelco will not be welcomed in Intag.  The letter, furthermore, ask the president to do all in his power to stop Codelco from reviving the nightmare here in Intag (Codelco is a state-owned company).  I strongly urge you to check out the letter  here:  https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9kKrl6DxURrX01LOHNlTVFoaFE

During his two-day visit to Chile and on his return to Ecuador, Correa talked a lot about his desire to eliminate poverty with mining.  Correa talks a lot period!  But what Correa, an economist, is leaving out in his talks is that mining creates and deepens poverty in most areas of developing countries where it operates.  Large-scale mining also generates an unbelievable number and types of social conflicts, tearing apart cultures, and causing perpetual environmental impacts as it does so.

 Whether Colombia, Bolivia or Perú, as I recently was reminded in an international forum on mining and development I recently attended in Quito, large-scale mining creates social and environmental havoc, and impoverishes the people.  To the point that several indigenous peoples in these countries, and Ecuador, have said they will resist any mining company entering their land.

The continental resistance to extractive industries by indigenous peoples has taken an interesting turn lately.  This is especially so in Ecuador where seven indigenous peoples recently (last week) announced that they will not allow petroleum companies into their territories. This was a response to the Correa government announcement of the opening up of new petroleum lands for exploration. Almost all of the new area is within indigenous territories, and indigenous leaders denounce that it was opened up violating their right to be previously consulted.  Opposition to mining is a logical next step.

Sources> http://www.codelco.com/en-minera-gaby-presidente-ecuatoriano-rafael-correa-inicio-visita-oficial-a-chile/prontus_codelco/2012-10-25/182636.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-25/codelco-begins-talks-with-ecuador-over-junin-copper-deposit-1-.html

 

 Inteños viajan a Chile en lujo

Parte de la agenda incluyó diálogos para reactivar el proyecto Junin

 El pasado 25 y 26 el presidente de Ecuador viajó a Chile con una numerosa comitiva para promover su nuevo libro, De la Banana Republic a la No República. Pero antes de hablar en la Feria del Libro de Santiago, fue a Calama,  una ciudad en el desierto de Atacama de Chile para visitar a Gaby, a una gran mina de cobre a cielo abierto que pertenece a la compañía minera de cobre de Chile, Codelco.

Correa no viajó solo a Gaby, se fue con una comitiva oficial, que incluyó  a cuatro habitantes de Intag que fueron invitados el día antes del viaje; Shisela Morales, el Presidente del gobierno Parroquia de García Moreno, su vicepresidente, además del presidente de la comunidad de Junín y un representante de una organización agrícola de la Parroquia. Obvio que Correa eligió una organización agrícola que está a favor de la minería, ya que recibe un mensual considerable de una mina pequeña de oro en la zona; un pago “calla la boca” como suelen decir. Gracias a los y las contribuyentes ecuatorianos, los cuatro habitantes de Intag, según me han dicho, volaron en puro lujo, experimentando viajar en un jet presidencial, o uno de la flota comercial especialmente contratado para el viaje.

 El objetivo de la visita a Gaby, aunque no declarado públicamente pero más que obvio, fue tratar de convencer a los inteños de los beneficios y la viabilidad de la minería a cielo abierto en Intag. Debe haber sido interesante para todos para ver una minería a cielo abierto en el desierto más árido del mundo, donde años a veces pasan sin precipitación alguna. También estoy seguro que fue una labor extraordinaria intentar imaginarse una mina como la Gaby en una de las zonas con mayor biodiversidad y lluviosa del mundo; como es Intag. No creo que sea posible, a menos que hayan visto lo que la minería a cielo abierto puede hacer en ecosistemas similares al nuestro, incluyendo la mina de cobre y oro Ok Tedi en Papúa Nueva Guinea, donde ha devastado 300.000 hectáreas de tierra y ríos (750.000 acres ). Visite este sitio para ver algunas minas de cobre chilenas en el desierto de Atacama, cerca de Gaby https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B9kKrl6DxURrUFJBazBIQ0t1WEE/edit

Aunque apenas se informó en la prensa (sólo en servicio de noticias de una agencia (1), Correa fue con otros oficiales que se ocuparton de  conversar con Codelco sobre el reinicio del proyecto Junín. Es muy probable que los inteños se sentaron en la mesa de negociaciones. ¿Qué cuentos contarán si deciden a ser abiertos sobre su viaje!  Con lo cual queda confirmado que el gobierno mantiene las intenciones de reactivar el proyecto JUNIN durante el segundo semester del 2013.

Intag respondió de inmediato a  esta última estrategia de comprar el apoyo político a este proyecto destructivo. Ocho de la organización mas grande de Intag, representando miles de inteños e inteñas, firmaron una petición al presidente de Chile, informándole de los motivos de oposición a la minería de Intag y para asegurarle de que Codelco no será bienvenida en Intag. La carta, además, solicita al presidente a hacer todo lo posible para detener que Codelco reviva la pesadilla aquí en Intag (Codelco es una empresa de propiedad estatal). Insto encarecidamente a revisar la carta (sólo en español en este momento) aquí: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9kKrl6DxURrX01LOHNlTVFoaFE

Durante su visita de dos días a Chile y a su regreso a Ecuador, Correa habló mucho acerca de su deseo de eliminar la pobreza con la minería. Correa habla mucho, punto! Sin embargo lo que Correa, un economista, está dejando de mencionar en sus charlas es que la minería genera y profundiza la pobreza en la mayoría de las áreas de los países en desarrollo en los que opera. La gran minería también genera un increíble número y  tipos de conflictos sociales, destrozando culturas, y causando impactos ambientales perpetuas a la vez.

Tanto en Colombia, Bolivia y Perú, como recientemente aprendí en un foro internacional sobre minería y desarrollo  que hace poco asistí en Quito, la minería a gran escala ha creado caos social y ambiental, y empobrecido a la gente. Hasta el punto que varios pueblos indígenas en estos países, y el Ecuador, han dicho que se resistirá al ingreso de cualquier empresa minera  a sus tierras.

La resistencia continental a las industrias extractivas por parte de pueblos indígenas ha dado un giro interesante últimamente. Esto es especialmente así en Ecuador, donde siete pueblos indígenas recientemente (la semana pasada) ha anunciado que no permitirá que las compañías petroleras en sus territorios. Esta fue una respuesta al anuncio del gobierno de Correa, la apertura de nuevas tierras para la exploración de petróleo. Casi la totalidad de la nueva área se encuentra dentro de los territorios indígenas, y los líderes indígenas denuncian que se abrió violar su derecho a ser consultados previamente. La oposición a la minería es el siguiente paso lógico.

Fuentes> http://www.codelco.com/en-minera-gaby-presidente-ecuatoriano-rafael-correa-inicio-visita-oficial-a-chile/prontus_codelco/2012-10-25/182636.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-25/codelco-begins-talks-with-ecuador-over-junin-copper-deposit-1-.html

 

 

 

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October 11, Miscellaneous

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By , October 11, 2012
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October 11,

Water and Biodiversity Forum.

Elections and more…

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The forum in Chontal this year was by far the most successful Water and Bidoviversity Forum we have ever had.  236 participants from 36 communities took their time (as far away as 3 hours on foot and truck) to spend the whole day talking about the importance of protecting Intag’s water sources and forests and wildlife. The talks were followed by popular poetry readings, music and a theater show for the kids. And kids!  They came from 11 different schools to participate in the art contest on the importance of water.  You can see the photos by going to this link https://plus.google.com/photos/117985641117825216894/albums/5796390821383984961?authkey=CIfohaaR4Kyu8QE     The photo of the drawing turned out the winning art work, drawn by a school kid from Junin.

Elections and more….

Ecuador is preparing to hold elections on February 2013.  Correa is the favorite right now, but his main opponent, economist Alberto Acosta, who is completely against large-scale mining has a good chance, IF the gov plays clean.  That is a very big IF.  Especially considering, if one is able to believe an opposition Assembly member who spoke at the Water and Biodiversity forum, that this year the gov was planning on spending $295 million on what he considered to be propaganda.  That’s much higher than last year’s expenditure to “inform” the people of the government’s activities, and promoting itself all over the different medias.

Something that is troubling is the ever-concentrating of powers and influence in the Executive branch.  Just like Venezuela.  The Ecuadorian government is also following in the goosesteps of Chavez in giving more and more subsidies to the people, while democratic values and institutions are being battered daily. The latest (just from a couple of days ago) was the president trying to curb the Legisltative right to investigate other branches of government.  Also, not too long ago, Mr Correa asked his Minsiters not to give interviews to the press he considers to be in opposition (calls that press corrupt).  The list of initiatives by the gov to curb or displace other powers of government is depressingly  long; and getting longer.

Unfortunately, most members of his party in the Legislative blindly support his directives and  policies; regardless of their undemocratic aspects.  It’s sad to say, but the model of the “strong-man”, Caudillo-type of governance, led by charismatic individuals who consider themselves to be the father of all the citizens and who think they  can say or do no wrong, and who also considers themselves to be above the law and the Constitution, is consolidating itself in Latin America.  Chavez is the perfect example; and Correa is doing his best to implement it here in Ecuador.  Both governments are sustained by high commodity prices (petroleum) which allow them to buy their way into the hearts of many of the people, who also- true enough- lack basic necessities.   As pointed out in other posts, many of these subsidies are also sustained by Chinese loans (in Venezuela to the the of 40 billion $)

Petroleum is running out in Ecuador, and instead of using the nation’s exceptional biological and cultural wealth to achieve a higher standard of living (not just accumulating material crap and having nice roads) Correa is going full speed ahead with large-scale mining to fund the generous social programs in the  future- including a recently announced 60% increase of the poor people’s subsidy (from $30 to $50).   A measure that will undoubtedly help his reelection chances in February.  But not only in the future, mining is supplying Ecuador with millions in the present, given that the government is insisting on upfront cash before mines even open (the Chinese Ecuacorriente company will give Correa’s government 100 million before their large scale copper mine opens in the south).  Something that is worth pointing out is the connection between mining and petroleum economies and authoritarian regimes pointed out in countless studies.  These are just two more cases where reality on the ground confirm these kinds of studies.

One of the ironies of Ecuador’s mining policies is that is is in the process of reducing the taxes on mining companies, and trying to “streamline” licensing procedures.  Sounds like World Bank doublespeak.  Ironies because the Correa government proudly and loudly (more loud than proud) went about telling the world how it had such a cool mining law that would tax the hell out of mining companies; much more so than any other country in the world. Two things they are specifically aiming for:  delay the implementation of the windfall tax till teh companies recoup their investment (which can be more than a decade), reduce or fix the royalty to no more than 8%.  This comes at a time when most mining economies are levying new taxes on export of minerals, raising royalties (royalty for gold in Venezuela is 13%), and so forth.  According to mining companies working in Mongolia, 71% of revenues created by mining will stay in that country.  Ecuador is happy with 51%; but with the new changes proposed that is all very relative.

2190

In five more days,  2190 days will be the number of days and nights that have slipped by since  19 police raided my home with a search and arrest warrant based on completely made up  charges filed by someone paid by Ascendant Copper to say that I robbed and physically assaulted her.  2190 days is how many days two governments have let gone by without  any sort of investigation into the illegalities involved in my particular case, and which included a police planting a gun and drugs in my home, and several police intimidating my family.   In order for all this to have happened, a district attorneys and a judge had to look the other way  while they allowed unbelievable amount of illegal procedures to take place, permit my human rights to be grossly violated, and put my life at serious risk.  2145 days is the number of days those same two governments have let go by without investigating the paramilitary attack on Junin, and the possible connection between the false security firm and the military that made it all happen. No one has bothered to investigate all the illegal weapons used in the paramilitary attack, nor what was Honor and Laurel, an international security firm, doing in Ecuador orchestrating it all.  2130 days is also the time that has elapse  since the attack on the communities of Barcelona and Cerro Pelado, by an outfit run by a ex-military official, and which farmers from Intag were trained  on paramilitary skills, and where tear gas canisters were used  against women and children.  This is the same country where, if you dare oppose a mining project with on the ground measures such a blocking a road, you can be labelled a saboteur and a terrorist and put away for years.

Troubling Rumors.

A while ago I mentioned that we have been hearing disturbing rumors. Those rumors were about the possibility of someone in government taking actions against anti-mining activists here in Intag and other parts of the country.  Unfortunately, since I wrote this on this blog a while back, we’ve heard this same story from other different sources- not connected to each other.  In all, it’s four sources, all linked to officials, that say the same thing, and have the same individuals on this very dirty black list.  DECOIN is on the list of organizations (the only one in Intag), and several of our members are part of that short list.

I am publishing this at this time in case something happens.  I am not thinking of violent means used against us, but much more subtle measures to try to neutralize those that dare oppose mining development here and elsewhere in Ecuador.  At the same time, I fervently hope the rumors turn out to be just that, and no more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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