Timeline of conflicts caused by (Canadian) mining in Shuar Arutam territory and strong organized opposition by the Shuar
The following timeline was co-developed between the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), LluviaComunicación, WITNESS, and MiningWatch Canada.
Fifty-six percent of the territory of the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA) has been concessioned by the Ecuadorian government to foreign mining companies without the free, prior, and informed consent of the Shuar people. These companies include Australia’s SolGold (several projects), the Chinese company ExplorCobres S.A. EXSA (San Carlos Panantza copper project), and two Canadian companies — Aurania Resources (lost Cities-Cutucu gold project) and Solaris Resources (Warintza copper project).
Solaris Resources entered Shuar territory in 2019 with the intention of mining for copper in the Ecuadorian Amazon, acquiring the Warintza project by purchasing all shares in Lowell Mineral Exploration — Solaris’ current subsidiary in Ecuador. To investors, Solaris promotes this project under the rationale that the high global demand for copper, sparked by moves towards decarbonization in response to the climate crisis, sets the company up to win big. The PSHA had already ousted Lowell from their territory in 2006. Now, faced with renewed mining interest, the PSHA reaffirms its right to self-determination. In 2019, the PSHA declared their lands “a territory of life (TICCA)” and launched an international campaign, “PSHA has already decided: No to mining!”
The PSHA has accused the company of committing serious harm, including being complicit in the State-led militarization of PSHA territory, of greenwashing the destructive activities of mining, of issuing a death threat, intimidating community members, carelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, and causing harm to the social fabric and community peace.
Collectively, the PSHA reached a decision to ban mining — using an ancestral organizing practice that Solaris Resources is now attempting to undermine through its “Warintza” model of selective engagement with two communities, instead of all 47 that make up the PSHA. In 2022, during the world’s largest mining convention held annually in Toronto by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the PSHA issued a statement denouncing the company’s promotion of its “Warintza” model as industry standard for community engagement, underscoring that the PSHA have already filed a complaint against the company and the Ecuadorian government before the International Labour Organization for failing to consult with affected Indigenous peoples.
Due to their tireless and committed fight for the protection of water and the Amazon, the PSHA has become a reference point for other organizations in the Amazon and elsewhere in the country in their struggle against transnational extractive companies.
TYPE OF PROJECT
Large-scale open-pit copper, gold and molybdenum mining project slated to extract some 4 million tonnes of copper from Shuar Arutam territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Southwest Ecuador, 235 kilometres from Quito in the Amazonian province of Morona Santiago, in the Cordillera del Cóndor. The project borders the Zamora, Coangos and Santiago rivers. It is located in the Ecuadorian Amazon and is 40 kilometres north of the Mirador mine, one of two industrial mines operating in Ecuador.
This mine will affect the Shuar Arutam people, with an estimated population of 12,000 people and 1000 families. The Governing Council of the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA) is made up of 47 communities organized into 6 associations, with a territory spanning approximately 230,000 hectares.
Solaris Resources Inc., a Canadian junior mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada
Advanced exploration. Drilling.