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Our efforts to protect Los Cedros from mining by Canadian company Cornerstone has expanded to a campaign to rescind all the mining concessions secretly handed out last year on 40 other Bosques Protectores as well as Los Cedros, ¾ million Ha in total as well as a million Ha of indigenous reserves. You should receive an update on that larger campaign within the next week. Here and here are our 2-minute videos.
As for Los Cedros, the great news is that National Geographic have agreed to fund a scientific expedition which will (according to the successful proposal) “systematically explore some of the most biodiverse habitat on planet Earth, delving into the nearly totally unexplored heart of Reserva Los Cedros, in the Andean Chocó bioregion. This Reserve and the surrounding areas are under extreme threat from mineral extraction, adding urgency to the work we are proposing.”
Also, our approaches to the Canadian government (via Australian senator Lee Rhiannon among others) seem to be bearing fruit: the Canadian Embassy expressed concern about the bad name Cornerstone is giving the other Canadian mining projects and have asked for a meeting to discuss the reports of bad business practices by the company.
We are hoping that the socialization process, which was conducted in an intimidating way, and the disruption of the comanagement process will both be investigated for violations of Canadian overseas business regulations.
When the company conducted the “Socialization Process” to get their social licence, they did so with the powerful presence of four government ministries standing with the mining company.
The government personnel supported company claims that water will be protected, forests respected etc. They also offered projects to benefit the company such as the Ministry of Industry who said that they would finance a bakery to supply Cornerstone with bread.
Add to this the pressure of having the Teniente Politco, Parroquial Police, the secret police SENAIN, ENAMI, Ministry of Mines and 5 or 6 Cornerstone representatives present, and you have 15 people supporting the company. What could the community possibly think except that they have no choice? This is a farce of democratic decision making. In reality the whole process is being forced on communites who cannot make an informed decision. It must be replayed with input from people who can explain the actual impacts of mining.
The government must be shamed for this kind of promotion of private economic interest which stinks of corruption.
As does the company employing 4 community representatives at high wages, three of whom, by “coincidence” are members of the Los Cedros comanagement organization being bribed by the company to destroy the community comanagement of the reserve
Bitty Roy (Professor of Ecology at the University of Oregon who has done scientific research at Los Cedros has recently updated the Los Cedros species lists and she confirms that there are (critically endangered) jaguars there among 163 rare species being protected by our reserve.
As well as her work for Los Cedros, Bitty co-authored two recent scientific papers detailing the impacts of the new contested mining concessions: “The Extent of Recent Mining Concessions in Ecudor” and “New mining concessions will severely decrease biodiversity and ecosystem services in Ecuador”