On Thursday, January 26th, President Guillermo Lasso declares illegal mining operations to be a dangerous threat to the national security of Ecuador. This declaration was brought upon after the most prominent indigenous organization threatened to protest the development of mining operations near their traditional ancestral territories. As such, efforts have been taken to address the issue at hand.
The chief reason behind this statement was that the Ecuadorian government discovered that illegal mining was heavily linked to many crimes. These crimes ranged from money laundering, arms laundering, the illicit smuggling of drugs, and many other crimes. On top of this, illegal mining operations have also been proven to be harmful through environmental damage. This worsens the natural environment and has also been believed to make the work environment dangerous in areas where illegal mining operations exist.
Furthermore, the government has identified where illegal mining operations are most prominent, particularly in the provinces of Morona Santiago, Zamora Chinchipe, El Oro, and Emeraldas, to list a handful. These locations are specifically known for having large gold and copper deposit reserves, providing a strong incentive for mining operations. In addition, the government has noted that illegal mining operations have been steadily increasing, even if the numbers themselves have not been specified.
A Reuters article further brings credence to the growing presence of mining operations, as according to the report, the value of the country’s mining exports grew 34 percent between January and November 2022 to 2.52 billion dollars. These numbers help to bring light to the importance of this issue.
To combat these illegal mining operations, the government plans to issue an executive order which involves establishing records, sturdier control, and more excellent state supervision of any activity related to illegal mining. To add to this, the government also intends to change mining regulations. Moreover, some of these regulations would be carried out by having the armed and police forces serve as impediments for mining companies to developing their activity.
However, with all these efforts to try and address the issue, the government still intends to support legal mining operations. Ecuador’s Secretary of Security, Diego Ordones, stresses, “We will support legal mining concessions that are created so that they can carry out their activities in the execution of their contracts, licenses, and authorizations.” As such, mining operations deemed legitimate by the government will not be classified as security zones.
Ultimately, the government begins to take significant steps to resolve the issues of illegal mining and the crimes that are directly linked to it, with concrete plans involving the army and police to combat illegal mining. However, this impacts the mining economy in Ecuador; illegal mining operations will now have to contend with being labeled a dangerous threat to the security of Ecuador.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in