On July 18th 2019, the Shuar Arutam President and Executive Council, representing over 12,000 inhabitants of the Indigenous Shuar Arutam territory, released a statement (below in full) pertaining to Solaris Copper’s “Warintza” project in Southern Ecuador.
Solaris’ copper-molybdenum project is in advanced-exploration phase and its concessions overlap with Indigenous Shuar territory. The company reported in its most recent MD & A that they were in discussions with the Shuar Indigenous Community to advance the project, but the latest statement from the Shuar Arutam government dismisses rumours that agreements had been reached, and ratifies their ongoing commitment to reject mining activities in their territories: “the Peoples Shuar Arutam Assembly determined the clear and categorical rejection of large-scale industrial mining activities in our territory and with this mandate we will make sure that collective rights and those of Nature are respected, as they are consecrated in the Constitution.” The Shuar Arutam recently elected their first woman as President, Prof. Josefina Tunki, along with the executive council at the XVI Congress on March 29-31, 2019. Their opposition to mining in their territories is firm. The statement also makes public their ongoing commitments to ensure the company abandon their activities and exit the territory.
Historically in the region, the Shuar have faced violent repression for their resistance to mining activities, Canadian and otherwise.
Earlier this year, the Shuar Arutam publicly denounced Solaris’ attempt to promote the “successful relationship” between the company and the Indigenous government at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada. The presentation was immediately removed from PDAC’s website.
According to the company, Solaris Copper is a Canadian public company but is not currently listed on any Canadian stock exchanges. It is a recent spin-off of another Canadian mining firm, Equinox Gold (TSX- V: EQX), which continues to own 40% of the active shares. Ross Beaty, a well-known conservationist and philanthropist in Vancouver, B.C. has important investments in both corporations. He is also the founder and board chairman of Pan American Silver, currently embroiled in another controversial mine in Guatemala, where Indigenous and local opposition has the mine currently suspended.
The company has not reported to its shareholders about this important decision which will have an impact on their activities in Ecuador.
THE SHUAR ARUTAM PEOPLE’S PUBLIC MANIFESTO
The council of the Government of the Shuar Arutam Peoples (CGPSHA), making use of the powers that it has from the statutes of their great Organization and in the Plan of Life of the Shuar Arutam Peoples, categorically rejects the information circulating in social networks about possible agreements that were made between the CONAIE and the Lowell Copper company on July 15, 2019 with respect to the Shuar Arutam People’s territory, specifically in the Shuar communities of Warints and Yawi.
We note that the People’s Assembly of the Shuar Arutam determined the clear and categorical rejection of large-scale industrial mining activities in our territory and with this mandate we will make sure that collective rights and those of Nature are respected, as they are consecrated in the Constitution.
Moreover, we wish to make public a meeting which took place in Quito, in the offices of the CONAIE, on July 4th, 2019, with the leaders of CONAIE, FICSH and PSHA. We resolved to hold an Extraordinary Assembly of the Shuar Warints community to assess how to arrive at the immediate exit of Lowell S.A from PSHA territory. As such, no leader of the CONAIE can pursue or validate agreements that go against what was decided in the PSHA Assembly.
The President of the Shuar Arutam Peoples, Prof. Josefina Tunki
And the Executive Councillors:
Marcelo Unkuch, External Management, Secretary
Galo Chup, External Management
Marco Martinez, PSHA Territory Executive
Eddy Nawech, Communication Executive
Benito Nankamai, Agriculture Executive
Olivo Ampam, Natural Resources Executive
Pascual Nantip, Education Executive
Sergio Chumpi, Health Executive