Police forcefully evict peasants in Las Naves, EcuadorPublished by MAC on 2010-08-02
Source: El Comercio, MarketWire
On October 2007, communities in the parishes Las Naves, Guaranda and Echandía (Bolivar province, Ecuador) initiated direct action, and closed all access roads to the mining camp of Curimining SA, a subsidiary of Salazar Resources.
They demanded the immediate departure of the company, which has allegedly been carrying out exploration that endangers water sources, closing public roads, and being confrontational with local communities.
Curimining SA worked near the communities of Selva Alegre, La Esperanza, Union Congress, Jerusalem, Naves Chico, Bellavista and Buenos Aires. But mining activities were suspended in 2008 by the Mining Mandate. See: http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=8249
Last month, about 800 people again took over the facilities of Curimining SA in Las Naves. Curiously, after a violent eviction, Salazar Resources thanked "the Government, the National Police, and especially the local community (sic) for their great support".
Peasants occupied mining camp in Las Naves and were evicted by police
25, 27 and 29 of June 2010
Josefina, a farmer of 52, spoke out on Friday night, "nobody is going out of here!", addressing her companions. Her 9 year old grandson looked at her and with a nod accepted the request. "We do not want polluted water or crops. We reject mining and we ask miners to leave" she added.
She and other residents of some 30 communities of the parish Las Naves, province of Bolivar, had already held three nights in vigil to prevent Curimining SA from resuming its exploration work in the area.
Since Tuesday June 22, the inhabitants kepts the mining camps in the area of Naves Chico and Jerusalem under their control. "If we die, we will do it here, but we must not let them back," was heard from the crowd.
Pablo Acosta, Curimining financial manager, said that the company restarted exploration because they had the approval of the Government. The National Water Secretariat and the Ministries of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources endorsed six concessions in the areas of Las Naves 1, 2, 3 and Jordan 1 and 2, totaling 30,000 hectares.
Finally, in the early hours of Saturday June 26 the company Curimining SA regained control of its facilities in the parish Las Naves after a police raid that evicted about 200 people.
The raid counted with 130 police agents and was later reinforced by another group of gendarmes. Hours earlier, the villagers took out machinery and tools that Curimining SA kept in the community of Naves Chico. "We do not want mining, get out miners!" Shouted the villagers.
There was struggling and hitting during the eviction. "There are villagers that have been beaten and even a child's hand was broken," said Patricio Gil, head politician of the canton Las Naves. Seven people were arrested and taken to the parish of Echandía. They were prosecuted for entering illegally and destroying property. The prosecutor Ramiro Albarracin during a hearing of indictments accused the villagers of conspiracy and asked that they be imprisoned. However, the judge in the Bolivar court number four, Victor Paredes, freed the villagers and ordered them to report to his office every eight days.
Meanwhile, the mining company is trying to resume his exploration activities. The staff returned Sunday to the premises where the project Curipamba Sur is exploring for gold, silver and other minerals. Apparently they found machinery destroyed such as the drill used in perforations. They estimate economic losses exceeded US $ 100 000.
The villagers said they will carry out a protest march in the coming days.
Salazar Strengthens Relationships in Local Community
28 June 2010
Salazar Resources Ltd. Mr. Fredy Salazar, President and CEO reports on activities at the Company's Curipamba project, Ecuador.
On June 4, 2010, the Company received authorization from government authorities to resume its exploration programs. To date the Company has completed two drill holes and the drill rig has been moved to a third location. On Friday June 25th after completion of a rig shift, a number of anti-mining protestors arrived at the Company's work site and managed to take temporary control of the Company's drill rig. The majority of the protestors were not from the surrounding local communities. In fact, the Company received over 90% support from the inhabitants of the local communities in the recent government consultation process.
The Company respects the rights of protestors to express their opinions but such protests should be conducted in accordance with the rule of law. It was clear that these protestors were acting outside rules and regulations and in order to preserve the physical security of its workers and of the community as a whole, the Company requested assistance from the Government.
On Saturday June 26th the National Police took control of the area and allowed the Company and its employees, many of which are from local communities, to return to the job site. The site is now completely under control of the Company, as a number of protestors were incarcerated and the balance departed the area. Unfortunately the Company's drill rig sustained minor damage. Parts have been ordered and upon receipt the rig will be repaired and the Company will resume its drill program.
The company would like to thank the Government, the National Police, and especially the local community for their great support of the project. This experience has served to strengthen the relationship between the community and the company and this successful resolution could only have been possible with the support of the Government to enforce the rule of law in Ecuador.