Several hundred people demonstrated this Sunday in Toronto against the mining sector on the first day of PDAC, the largest mining fair in the world and attended by some 30,000 people, according to organizers.
Protesters, called by several organizations opposed to mining development, criticized the actions of Canadian mining companies around the world and expressed their solidarity with the hereditary leaders of the wet’suwet’en Indians in Canada, opposed to the construction of a gas pipeline in Its traditional territory.
The arrests by the Canadian Mounted Police of wet’suwet’en and their supporters for blocking the entry into their territory of the workers who have to build the gas pipeline have led to blockages for indigenous groups throughout the country for weeks on railways and roads in solidarity.
Today, protesters, some of them with banners criticizing the Mounted Police and others expressing their support for the wet’suwet’en, blocked one of the entrances to the Toronto Convention Center where PDAC will be held from March 1 to 4.
Other banners were demanding two Canadian mining companies, Inv Metals and Cornerstone, to abandon their operations in Ecuador. Inv Metals is developing the Loma Larga project, a gold, silver and copper mine in Azuay province in the face of opposition from local community groups due to the impact on the region’s aquifer resources.
Last week, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador rejected the request of these groups to hold a referendum to determine mining activities in Azuay.
For its part, Cornerstone participates in the Cascabel project, a gold and copper mine in northern Ecuador.
Precisely today, at the opening of PDAC, Ecuador Day was celebrated in which the Vice Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources of Ecuador, Enrique Gallegos, together with other authorities of the South American country promoted the sector to attract foreign investors.
During his presentation, Gallegos said that “Ecuador’s national mining plan will be implemented, which will be a fundamental tool for the optimal consolidation of the country’s mining activities.”
In recent years, Ecuador has dedicated numerous efforts to develop a powerful mining industry so that by 2021 the sector represents 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), more than double what it represents today.
At the end of last year, Ecuador’s large-scale mining development plans advanced with the entry into operation of the Mirador mine in the Amazon region of the country, with Chinese investment valued at $ 1,348 million.
According to Ecuadorian authorities, Mirador is among the 20 largest copper mines in the world.
And at the end of this year, the Fruta del Norte gold mine is scheduled to start operating, also in the province of Zamora Chinchipe, a project of the Canadian miner Lundin Gold.
In addition to Ecuador, other Latin American countries are also present this year at PDAC, either with pavilions or with special sessions to attract investors.
Tomorrow, Argentina Day, Colombia Day and Peru Day are celebrated to promote the mining potential of the three countries. In addition, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Peru have pavilions at the fair.