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.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ecuador mine law to have community input, no veto

QUITO, June 30 (Reuters) - Ecuador's new mining law will call for community consultation over projects but villagers will not have veto powers to shut them down, Mining Minister Galo Chiriboga said Monday.

Chiriboga said in a television interview that he hopes the law will bring needed investment into the country's nascent mining sector. The law is still under review and is expected to be approved by September.

"In our opinion we think the previous consultation is important, but it should not be binding," Chiriboga said, adding that the state will conduct the consultation with villages near projects. Under the old law, companies conducted the consultations.

The new mining law is key for foreign mining companies to restart exploration after they were forced to halt operations temporarily in April by a government-controlled assembly rewriting the constitution. The oil-producing nation wants to boost control over the sector which has discovered world-class gold and copper deposits in recent years.

Ecuador lacks significant output of precious metals, but dozens of foreign companies such as Aurelian Resources, Corriente Resources and Iamgold have found large gold, silver and copper deposits.

The new law will not limit the number of concessions companies can hold and not force them to form joint ventures with a state mining company as some investors feared, a top mining official told Reuters last week.

The government has yet to determine the structure of royalty payments under the new law, officials said.

A community consultation that results in powers to close down projects has been a worry for investors in an industry that has faced fierce opposition from environmentalists and some villages in the mineral-rich regions of southern Ecuador.

The draft law is under review by President Rafael Correa, a leftist economist who has said he backs large projects if they generate billions of dollars in revenue to the poor nation.

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