October 25, 2020

They insist on request for consultation against metal mining in southern Ecuador



The prefect of the Ecuadorian province of Azuay, Yaku Pérez, presented again Tuesday before the Constitutional Court a request for popular consultation in search of the ban on metal mining in his jurisdiction.

In a march, which was attended by some mayors of Azuay, Pérez arrived at the Constitutional Court to again deliver the request for popular consultation against metal mining, which was rejected last year.

In September 2019, the Constitutional Court denied the request for “errors of form” and now Pérez was convinced that “sooner rather than later” they will go to popular consultation.

The questions of the consultation “are not generic, they keep loyalty, neutrality, constitutionality,” Pérez said at a press conference before considering that now the Constitutional Court no longer has “excuses” to deny the request.

The new proposal has two questions, the original one in which the cessation of the metal miner of all kinds is requested in the water sources of the province, and an additional one with which it intends for the citizens to pronounce on an eventual expiration of the mining titles granted before the consultation.

“Many of these concessions were made in a more corrupt and extractive government in the history of the Republic of Ecuador,” Pérez said.

And he added that “consequently what the Constitution prescribes must apply: the right of repetition. If the multinationals want to sue the State, perfect, demand, but there is the right of repetition, where the former president (Rafael) Correa will have to respond to the head”.

According to Pérez, in the previous Administration “in a frank irregularity” concessioned “mining in territories of indigenous peoples”, apparently, without prior consultation.

“Ecuador, sooner rather than later, will be declared a metal-free territory,” said the prefect.

There are currently 815 mining concessions in Azuay and, according to Pérez, this means that “a quarter of the territory” is committed to metal mining.

The Ecuadorian Government expects an investment of 3.8 billion dollars in the mining industry and that it represents 4 percent of GDP until 2021.

The Constitutional Court has thirty days to respond to Pérez’s request, who was optimistic about the result and hopes that the popular consultation will take place before the 2021 presidential elections.

He said that if the order is denied again, it will boost a nationwide consultation.

According to the Ministry of Mining, metal mining is the extraction activity to obtain a certain metal that can be between basic (copper, lead, zinc), ferrous (iron, cobalt, titanium), precious (gold, silver, platinum) and radioactive (plutonium, uranium, radio).

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