In Ecuador, human, collective and nature rights are violated every day; Every day, mining companies continue to devastate natural spaces, polluting rivers, depriving communities of their sources of livelihood and their ancestral territories. Therefore, every day men and women mobilize in defense of life.
Many territories in our country, and their enormous agricultural and wild diversity, are threatened to become barren land due to mining activities. Therefore, communities demand that the State fulfills the obligation to protect the rights related to the care of life and that this be expressed in public policies. It cannot be accepted that national and transnational mining companies replace the State by providing “aid”, “bags”, “baskets”, “medicines” in exchange for looting and labor exploitation. The role of the State is one of collusion, complicity and negligence in the face of the destruction of alternative life systems to “mining development” and, therefore, autonomous and capable of living without destroying.
With their participation in the national strike, the mining resistance communities express their repudiation and indignation at the silence that is being imposed in the face of their reality and demand that their rights be respected. They denounce that about 15% of the national territory is under concession and that more than 3 million hectares will be explored for metal mining, of which about 400 thousand hectares are in indigenous territories. They also denounce that large-scale mining represents only 1.65% of the Gross Domestic Product and that it employs only 0.12% of the economically active population, while destroying tens of thousands of jobs linked to agriculture or tourism; They inform us that mining hardly pays taxes, but causes serious damage in perpetuity in community territories.
A pro-business government
Most infamously, the “Government of Meeting” has simplified procedures in the institutions that have the power to regulate and control mining activity; and promotes a policy focused on ensuring legal certainty for large companies. The implementation of the current mining policy meant for our country the debt of 78.4 million dollars to the IDB that will be used, among other things, to generate a business environment conducive to investment…
This policy has already begun to bear fruit, as can be seen in the statement by the current Minister of Energy and Mines, Xavier Vera Grunauer, who, accompanied by a delegation from the Chamber of Mines, announced at the Convention of the Association of Garimpeiros and Developers of Canada 2022 ( PDAC), which this year will reopen the registry and announced that there are other investment opportunities in the Ecuadorian mining sector such as: gold refineries, mining trains, industrial parks, among others; all these high-impact activities. The minister avoided mentioning at the aforementioned international fair that the offers he made to companies take place in territories where there are decent communities that have long opposed mining activities that violate their rights and turn their territories into sacrifice zones.