Photo Credit: Al Jazeera
Earlier this month, protesters embarked on a two week march to Quito to call attention to recent agreements with China to begin mining in the southeastern region of Zamora-Chinchipe. Hundreds of indigenous protesters are expected to arrive in Quito on March 22nd.
Although the Ecuadorian government views mining as a viable alternative to oil development, contaminated waters, displacement of indigenous peoples, and deforestation of the Amazon are cited as the salient hazards in the proposed mining region.
Chief of CONAIE Humberto Cholango, claims that the goal is “not to topple Correa, but rather to get him to support laws protecting water resources and to consult native communities over major mining projects.” Indigenous communities were not consulted on current development plans that would take place on their land. And as far as Ecuadorians are concerned, mining revenue could provide monetary support for expanding social programs in the country, but at what cost?
If the Mirador copper project goes through, this $1.72 billion deal will begin mining in late 2013.