The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ecuador to allow open pit mining if benefits seen

QUITO, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Saturday the government would allow open pit mining and bear its environmental impact if it generated enough revenues for the Andean nation.

"In principle we want to avoid it, but if there are more than $100 billion in revenues we will have to allow open pit mining," Correa said in his weekly radio address. "I'm talking about a real example, I'm talking about the mines of Ecuacorriente in Zamora Chinchipe."

The leftist president said the country's lush precious metal potential could help the government finance needed social projects for the poor.

Canada's Corriente Resources is waiting on the government to approve an environmental impact assessment amendment to start work at its Mirador mine in Zamora Chinchipe province, a company executive said.

Last year, Ecuador suspended the start of work at the Mirador copper-gold project due to clashes between communities in favor and against mining.

Correa has promised sweeping reforms to the country's nascent mining sector to establish new contracts and royalties for companies exploring for gold and copper.

Alberto Acosta, the head of the assembly rewriting the constitution and close ally to Correa, has repeatedly said a new charter will ban open pit mining to safeguard the country's environment.

The assembly, which last week closed down Congress and took over its powers, is expected to decide on a series of reforms to the mining law to increase state participation in the industry.

Some other firms exploring in Ecuador include Aurelian Resources and Iamgold Corporation.

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