Mining Paradise: Intag’s New Ominous Mining THREATS

Posted on | juni 5, 2011 | No Comments

Yesterday we heard that Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper company and the world’s largest producer of the red metal, was officially interested in reopening the JUNIN mine as part of government initiative (this according to Ecuador’s Chamber of Mines). Late in the evening, however, Codelco went out of its way to say it was not planning to explore the JUNIN concession. At the same time reliable sources from the PARAISO area, reported eight pick-up loads of Codelco engineers, who are, supposedly, taking samples from the the area around El Paraiso, and perhaps the rest of the Toisan Range (water and rock samples). El Paraiso, as pointed out before, is much too small for Codelco, who only has undertaken huge mining projects- most of them in the world’s driest desert (Atacama). So, it looks like they (teh company and government) are testing the waters before plunging.

The possible start up of the JUNIN project is just one of 7 ongoing and potential mining hassles going on in Intag (the others are: marble mine at Barcelona; a new marble mine proposed at El Rosal; Paraiso, Corazon (small gold mine with contamination issues);Lafarge, and two new concessions in the Paraiso area),,, Make that 8, not seven hassles.

Regarding El Paraiso: together with Cedhu, Ecuador’s most prestigious human rights organization, and the government of Garcia Moreno, DECOIN filed an opposition to El Paraiso’s hard-to-believe Environmental Impact Statement. The Ministry of the Environment responded that they haven’t even received the EIA, so not to worry (yes, we worry!!).. Apparently, the concession owner (who works closely with CODELCO) is amending the EIA. One of the main points we made was that the EIA was illegitimate because it did not include legitimate public discussion. We also pointed out some of the abundant mistakes in the document, which seemed more of a copy and paste of another EIA.

Recently we got a hold of the Environmental Audit for the Lafarge limestone quarry here in Intag and found some interesting stuff. The Auditors found the company in violation of many environmental norms (using and destroying the side of a mountain to process the limestone, air and noise contamination of school kids living next to the road, river contamination with phenol and limestone, complete destruction of archeological site, and a few more great impacts generated by one of the world’s most responsible mining companies who has, by the way, a deal with WWF to be greener.

On April 5 of 2011, 141 persons affected by the activities of Lafarge in and around the cement factory in Otavalo, and the Selva Alegre limestone mine in Intag, filed a Lawsuit against the company in Ecuador’s Constitutional Court. The plaintiffs, all campesinos, allege the company violated their Constitutional rights, including the right to a Good Life, a safe environment, health and work, all of which are guaranteed in the country’s Constitution.
CHECK THE NEW WEBSITE we made to denounce Lafarge at:  

AUTHOR: Carlos Zorrilla
E-MAIL: toisan06 [at]


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