Proposed large-scale mining is raising concerns among residents of remote communities in Ecuador. Copper mining is underway, new mines are proposed, and citizens fear their voices will not be heard.
“They lack information they can trust,” says Meche Lu, ELAW Staff Scientist, “They need information and they want to participate in the decision-making processes.”
Earlier this month, Meche traveled to remote regions of Ecuador to participate in workshops for community leaders and residents seeking information about the real impacts of mining and how to review Environmental Impact Assessments for proposed projects.
“Large scale metal mining is proposed in areas with high rainfall and rugged terrain,” says Meche. “This poses substantial risk of soil erosion, water pollution, and acid mine drainage. The biggest local concern is acid mine drainage.”
Mining operations are proposed for Ecuador’s sub-tropical Andes in fragile ecosystems such as the Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve, home to the endangered spectacled bear and jaguar. Subsistence farmers and indigenous peoples here support themselves growing coffee, fruit, and sugarcane. They have been fighting gold and copper mining for years.
ELAW is pleased to work with local partners at ECOLEX to help the people of Ecuador understand their legal rights and make their voices heard about short-sighted mining projects.
We will keep you informed of our progress!