In the ECUADOR ENDANGERED campaign we are supporting rural and indigenous communities in Ecuador to resist and halt grand-scale mining concessions that have been secretly handed out by the government in several rounds since early 2017.
These concessions are a human rights and environmental catastrophe in the making. Over 2 million hectares (almost 13% of the country’s land mass as of 2019) are impacted, including some of the the most biodiverse landscapes on Earth. If even some of these mining projects go ahead, thousands of endangered species risk extinction.
Grassroots resistance inEcuador has been strengthening steadily over the past year. Subsequently the international campaign has developed at a fast pace, responding as needed in support of community mobilisations and legal battles. RIC has been working through its partner group of dedicated volunteers, the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group, to execute research and create resources, build alliances and direct funds to where they are needed.
100% of funds go to support the frontline in Ecuador with campaigning, legal funds and community organisation.
FOR MORE INFO ...
Melbourne Rainforest Action Group (RIC's most active RAG): our freshly renovated website is here with full campaign information, latest updates from the ground in Ecuador, media releases and more!
For a December 2019 article addressing the broad neoliberal agenda behind Australian mining companies pushing their way aggressively into developing nations like Ecuador see here: Neoliberalism versus justice on Ecuador's mining frontier - published in FoE Australia's Chain Reaction.
Here are the latest campaign updates ...
JAN 2020 - BHP'S AGGRESSIVE PUSH INTO INTAG
This year has started with a lot of intensity for front-liners protecting their rainforests and communities in northwestern Ecuador. BHP, the world's biggest mining company, wants to start exploring for gold and copper in the area, and it appears they are willing to do almost anything to get in, including lie, cheat and surround themselves with military police. We have been helping fund numerous community assemblies, which have resulted in a legal document containing resolutions to be presented to governmental, human rights and environmental bodies. See this overview of the escalating tensions here; and peruse the MRAG home page for more media links, reports and photos.
(image courtesy of Carlos Zorrilla)
JULY 2019 - JAN 2020 OVERVIEW
August 2019: RIC contributed to initial production costs for a major environmental documentary, Marrow of the Mountain (See trailer here). This film is being produced by friend of John Seed, mycologist and campaign supporter Roo Vandegrift. It will focus on Los Cedros and other critically endangered forests in the northwestern Andes of Ecuador. RIC is now a partner of the film and will continue to support its completion.
September 2019: Along with our allies at Mining Watch Canada, RIC donated funds to make a national anti-mining convergence happen in Quito. Our money mainly went to catering and travel for indigenous leaders from the Amazon and people dwelling in the vulnerable high plains ecosystems, all under mining concession. At the meeting we presented an overview of Australian mining company involvement in Ecuador.
Also in September we helped fund an assembly of 1500 people from communities across the Intag province. Video here!
Also in September MRAG got its first ever national news coverage in Australia, with this SBS story about Gina Rinehart's mining debacle in Intag
In October Ecuador erupted in nationwide protests and strikes over austerity measures imposed by the government as part of a new IMF deal.
In October RIC donated funds (mainly from a couple of generous donors) to support the ongoing legal action to stop a gold mine destroying cloud forests at Junín, Intag.
RIC is also supporting Los Cedros Reserve to present a legal action to the Constitutional Court, as mining companies are refusing to honour the April provincial court ruling and leave Los Cedros.
In October and November MRAG targeted the AGMs of SolGold and BHP in Brisbane and Sydney respectively, to present the concerns of embattled Ecuadorians to shareholders.
In December RIC members ran a deep ecology workshop in Melbourne and fundraised $2000 for Ecuador. More workshops to follow in Feb and March in Tassie, and May in Melbourne.
(Image courtesy of Carlos Zorrilla)
MEDIA, REPORTS, JOURNAL STUDIES
See rainforestactiongroup.org for heaps of up-to-date media releases and reports on mining companies involved
John Seed’s March 2018 article
Jefferson Mecham’s comprehensive paper “Ecuador Endangered by Extreme Extractivism”
New mining concessions will severely decrease biodiversity and ecosystem services in Ecuador (Bitty Roy et al 2018)
Environmental Impact Study from early mining efforts in Junin (1996) (pdf)
Summary of tax and legal deregulations for mining made during Correa administration (Carlos Zorrilla, 2017) (pdf)
Our involvement with this campaign stemmed from our efforts to protect the Los Cedros Biological Reserve, one of over 40 mega-biodiverse protected forests (Bosques Protectores) currently threatened by mining concessions. RIC has been a stalwart support of Los Cedros since allocating the funds and helping establish the reserve in 1989. Many of the volunteers currently forming the backbone of the campaign are local and international activists and scientists who have been involved with the protection of Los Cedros over many years.
For more background see RIC's 2016 Los Cedros update, created when the mining threat had only just been discovered.
Letter from world scientists attesting to the biological value of Los Cedros
Los Cedros species lists from Bitty Roy, professor of Ecology, University of Oregon
List of Publications from research undertaken at Los Cedros