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UPDATE: The Mirador open-pit mine in Ecuador

Earlier this month, Salon.com reported on the Canadian firm Corriente and its Mirador open-pit mine project in Ecuador.

The article explains, “In 2005, Corriente went public with the scale of the Mirador project. The Canadian firm announced it would build an open-pit copper mine dwarfing anything in Ecuador’s history. The mine required hollowing out one of the region’s largest mountains and clear-cutting several others. A massive tailing pond would hold the 200-plus million tons of toxic effluvia generated over the mine’s 18-year lifespan. The site designated for the waste sits half a mile from the Rio Quimi, a tributary of the Rio Zamora, whose waters support the local agricultural economy on their way into the Amazon basin. Roads and bridges are being built for 18-wheel truck traffic to carry hundreds of tons of copper concentrate on a daily nonstop loop between the mine and a port on Ecuador’s Pacific coast.”

And it notes, “Corriente announced its plan coated in absurd assurances that the mine and the waste pool were nothing to fear. The company even claimed that after the mine had closed, the tailing pond could be converted into a ‘resort lake’ for swimming and water sports. Corriente printed up leaflets showing people swimming in the crystal waters of this man-made lake that once contained millions of tons of cancer soup.”

But there is resistance to this from both the campesino and indigenous peoples including the Shuar people who live in the “Cordillera del Condor, the rain forest mountain range targeted by President Rafael Correa for the introduction of mega-mining.”

Shuar chief Domingo Ankuash says, “The government has given away land that is not theirs to give, and we have a duty to protect it. Where there is industrial mining, the rivers die and we lose our way of life. They want us to give up our traditions, work in the mines, and let them pollute our land. But we will give our lives to defend the land, because the end is the same for us either way.”

To sign an Avaaz.org community petition against this mine, please go to ‘Prevent large-scale mining in the biodoversity-rich ancestral lands of the Shuar tribes in the Condor, Ecuadorean Amazon’ at http://goo.gl/nEfkJ.

For more, please read:

NEWS: Indigenous peoples march against proposed Mirador copper mine in Ecuador
UPDATE: Correa criticizes anti-mining activists in Ecuador
Salon.com article, “To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us”