MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Protests Against Canadian Mining Firm In Ecuador

Published by MAC on 2006-05-03
Source: Associated Press and CRE

Protests Against Canadian Mining Firm in Ecuador

Associated Press and CRE

3rd May 2006

QUITO -- Campesinos in the south of Ecuador blockaded several stretches of the Panamerican highway on Wednesday to protest the gold mining operations of Canadian firm Iamgold (http://www.iamgold.com/). Residents of Tarqui and Victoria del Portete, located some 400 kilometers south of Quito, oppose the presence of the mining firm in the area because they will be affected by the gold mining operations.

"They are exploring, they haven't begun mining operations, and when they begin to mine the gold... then the contamination will come," said Carlos Pérez, leader of the Federation of Campesinos of Azuay on television Channel 8. He added that "they will take our water away because (the mine location) is the headwaters of the rivers Tarqui, Irquis and Yanuncai."

The campesinos blocked the highway with stones, logs and mounds of earth. "Water is more valuable than gold," stated one of the banners carried by protesters. The highway, which connects the provinces of El Oro and Loja was to be reopened Wednesday at midnight.

In Ecuador, the Canadian firm Iamgold is owner of some 12,500 hectacres, upon which since 2002, they have developed the mining project Quimsacocha and have carried out exploratory works and drilling, according to their internet page.

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