MICLA

McGill Research Group Investigating
Canadian Mining in Latin America

Curipamba Sur, Ecuador

Key Data

Company:Salazar Resources and Guangshou Group Co. Ltd. Operational status:exploration Materials extracted:silver, copper, gold Type of mine:open pit Main issues:community relations, water

Description

In October of 2007, local community groups confronted the mining company Curimining SA, stating that it had no right to operate in the area due to lack of appropriate consultation, failure to attain the permission of the Las Naves mayor (a requirement to operate), not carrying out an environmental impact study, and failure to comply with county law regarding mining operations (Law 033) (1). Activists have also stated that the project will seriously impact water quality and biodiversity in the region(2). On October 4th the communities of Las Naves, Guranda and Echandía closed all access roads to the camp and demanded that the company leave immediately(3). In 2008 Curimining saw its concession suspended as part of a national moratorium on open-pit mining while a new mining law was being formulated(4). The Ecuadorean government also cited the lack of an appropriate environmental impact assessment as a cause for Curimining`s concession being suspended(5). However, in June 2010 Curiming had six of its concessions (totalling 30 000 hectares) in Las Naves region approved by the Ministries of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources along with the National Water Secretariat, allowing them to resume operations in the region, leading 800 local campesinos to occupy the mine site on the 25th of June before being forcefully evicted by police four days later(6). In September 2010 the communities of Bolivar province voted overwhelmingly to declare their region free of mega-mining(7). That same year, the Minister for Nonrenewable Natural Resources authorized Curimining to restart exploration, giving them ownership of their concessions for 23 years(8). Exploration, as well as large-scale protests in region against the mine have continued in 2011 and 2012, including a march in San Luís de Pambil  to voice opposition to Curimining SA’s (now Salazar Resources) operations in the region and warn neighbouring communities about the risks the mine poses to the local water supply(9). Protests against Curipamba Sur were also included in a nationwide anti-mining march organized by the indigenous organization CONAIE (10).

In 2013, Salazar Resources announced they were pursuing all the permits needed from the Ecuadorian government to advance to the exploration phase after recieving funding from Urion Mining International BV (11). In August of 2014, Salazar Resources announced that the project was now a joint venture with Guangshou Group Co. Ltd., a Chinese mining corporation(12). As part of the agreement, Guangshou agreed to invest 50 million dollars towards beginning production at the concession’s El Domo deposit. At the beginning of 2015, Salazar Resources refiled their preliminary economic assessment to address some concerns raised by the British Columbia Securities Commission regarding their 2014 technical report(13).

Last updated: April 3, 2017.

Bibliography

1. Mining Confronts Bolivar Province. Mines and Communities. http://www.minesandcommunities.org//article.php?a=8249, Curipamba Sur, Bolivar, Ecuador. Environmental Justice Atlas. https://ejatlas.org/conflict/curipamba-sur-bolivar-ecuador

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Se extinguen 335 concesiones mineras.Hoy. http://www.hoy.com.ec/noticias-ecuador/se-extinguen-335-concesiones-mineras-322279.html

5. Ibid.

6. Peasants occupied mining camp in Las Naves and were evicted by police. El Comercio. http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=10277

7. Inicia paro indefinido en sector Las Naves, provincia de Bolívar. Conflictos Mineros. http://www.conflictosmineros.net/contenidos/12-ecuador/5692-inicia-paro-indefinido-en-sector-las-naves-provincia-de-bolivar

8. Curipamba Sur, Bolivar, Ecuador. Environmental Justice Atlas. https://ejatlas.org/conflict/curipamba-sur-bolivar-ecuador

9. Marcha y rechazo a minería en San Luís de Pambil. No a la Mina. http://www.noalamina.org/latinoamerica/ecuador/item/7182-marcha-y-rechazo-a-mineria-en-san-luis-de-pambil

10. Curipamba Sur, Bolivar, Ecuador. Environmental Justice Atlas. https://ejatlas.org/conflict/curipamba-sur-bolivar-ecuador

11. Salazar Announces Funding Agreement to Advance Curipamba to Production. Salazar Resources Ltd. http://www.salazarresources.com/docs/nr-salazar-march26-2013.pdf

12. Salazar and Guangshou Group Announce Letter-of-Intent to Advance the Curipamba Project in Ecuador. Salazar Resources Ltd. http://www.salazarresources.com/docs/2014/2014-08-26_SRL.pdf

13. Salazar Files Amended Technical Report. Salazar Resources Ltd. http://www.salazarresources.com/docs/2015/2015-01-22_SRL.pdf