On December 15, 2007, members of the “Green Route” pre-Chamber of Commerce – persons and organizations dedicated to promoting ecological and sustainable tourism and associated businesses all along the highway which the Municipal Government in Quito itself has targeted and promoted for exactly such alternative economic development – met near Mindo to discuss issues relevant to their interests. This included the mining issue, to which the group expressed its full opposition and willingness to collaborate in efforts to repel mining interests. The central axis of Avalanche’s E Group concessions is along the very paved road from Quito to La Independencia that is the “Green Route,” and which has sprouted eco-lodges, community cheese factories and other sustainable cottage industries during recent years, with Quito actively promoting such alternatives.


ECSA is a mining venture that has been promoting itself relentlessly in the Ecuadorian media during the past month. I feared they might be AVALANCHE under an assumed identity (the company whose E Group concessions threaten the integrity of northwestern Ecuador also has holdings in the Cordillera del Condor), but no, friend Pat in Scotland disabused me by looking ECSA up on the internet. ECSA is not Avalanche, but it is a metals mining project, and can serve us as a peek into the future that could await us if we don’t join together to make truly viable alternatives, and stick to them. ECSA states they are an Ecuadorian company with nearly 8,000 hectareas in their 6 “Proyecto Mirador” concessions in southern Ecuador (Zamora-Chinchipe) in the Cordillera del Condor. Their plan is to put in a copper mine, stressing “environmental responsibility.” They say they must spend over $342 million dollars in mining infrastructure before they can move to exploitation. They do not mention any guarantee of financing to deal with the toxic waste generated from acid mine drainage, toxic heavy metals freed into air and water from unearthed rock, contamination by chemical agents used to separate and recover target minerals from ore, nor erosion and sedimentation as natural forces erode (contaminated) mine waste material and carry the sediments off the site where they can clog river beds, smother aquatic life and habitat, and kill vegetation.


ECSA’s website is: http://www.ecsa.com.ec/

(Note that sometimes this site does not load as it should, try it a couple times, and  if it still doesn’t work try typing http://www.ecsa.com.ec/


In other relevant news, our colleague Anita, monitoring Ecuador’s ASAMBLEA CONSTITUYENTE from California, sent this report on their Mesa de Trabajo (Work Table) #5, “NATURAL RESOURCES AND BIOIDIVERSITY.” These are the 13 people responsible for drafting national policy concerning the conservation and use of all Ecuador’s natural resources and unique biodiversity, which will be written into the country’s new (20th) Constitution. The Asamblea is currently also the de facto legislative branch of the National Government, and apparently subject to President Rafael Correa’s political and economic agenda. Mesa de Trabajo 5’s overall socioeconomic emphasis is a little alarming (people’s rights and uses over those of the environment and its natural resources and biodiversity upon which we all depend), but there may be some leeway in which to present alternatives, and there are two days of workshops planned to cover the issues of Biodiversity, Mines, Water, and City/Air in Imbabura and northern Pichincha. Ideally, to give people a chance to participate in their own governance.


The Asamblea’s website is http://asambleaconstituyente.gov.ec/


NEWSFLASH: Ascendant Copper Corp, a Canadian Company which was ordered to pull out of their Intag concessions due to their illegal and violent activities in that zone, met with members of Work Table 5 Natural Resources on January 10th, presumably to present their case for resuming mining activities in the area. Fortunately, Intag leaders learned of the scheduled meeting in time for their representative to reach Montecristi and present the communities’ case against the Junin mining project the same day.






And finally, teams of local forest network members are going out to inform and entertain affected communities in February. Stay tuned!!! m