Ecuador allows communities to decide mining projects’ fate
It represents a victory for Cuenca, in the southern province of Azuay, which hosts several projects, including SolGold’s (LON, TSX:SOLG) Sharug project and Canada’s INV Metals’ (TSX-V: INV) Loma Larga gold-silver-copper project.
“It has been a dream for Cuencans for so many years to be allowed, through popular consultation, to determine the future protection of our water sources,” Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios told local media.
Participation in the referendum on mining will be mandatory, Palacios added.
Current projects safe
INV welcomed the ruling, saying it solidifies its lawful rights. The company noted it was currently working with the government to review Loma Larga’s environmental impact study to advance it through the permit process.
Processing ore from underground mine will be done without using cyanide, IVN has said, an about 55% of the tailings will be placed underground using the paste backfill method.
The remaining tailings, the project developer has noted, will be filtered and pressed to remove water to be treated and recycled within the processing facilities.
Ecuador has gained ground as a mining investment destination in the past two years, but opposition to the extraction of the country’s resources could thwart the government’s plan to attract $3.7 billion in mining investments over the next two years. That’s significantly up from the $270 million it received in 2018.