QUITO – The Ecuadorian government announced that it will give 12 companies the green light to resume advanced mining activities, which had been suspended since 2008.
Deputy Energy and Mines Minister Luis Bustamante said the companies had requested permission to resume their work, but he noted that “they have to comply with some environmental requirements (pertaining to the care of) water resources and the spread (of mining waste) in areas (surrounding) each of their projects.”
Bustamante said that “once they have all of that, the ministry will authorize them to resume their work at the same stage” in which their operations had been suspended.
After they are in compliance, he said they can join three other companies that have already received authorization to resume their work: the Canadian companies Ecsa-Ecuacorrientes, Kinross Aurelian and Condor Gold.
“The ministry is open to authorizing the resumption of mining activities at the national level,” the official said, adding that its main goal is to promote mining development throughout the country.
Nevertheless, according to Bustamante, the companies “obviously must comply with legal norms,” above all in terms of the environment and social responsibility.
Ecuador’s new Mining Law, approved in January 2009, contains strict environmental and social provisions, but it has been harshly criticized by environmental and indigenous groups who fear that mining development will harm their communities and the environment. EFE