“No Means No to Ascendant Copper in Ecuador” Campaign Launched: Communities Call for Cancellation of Canadian Mining Company

(Ottawa) A new campaign launched today by Friends of the Earth Canada and MiningWatch Canada is focused on informing investors and potential investors in Vancouver-based Ascendant Copper (listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange) of the true depth of community resistance and irregularities with respect to the company’s Junín project in northwest Ecuador.

The “No Means No to Ascendant Copper in Ecuador” campaign begins one day prior to Ascendant’s annual general meeting (May 4, 2006) in Vancouver.

The organizations have released a new documentary film on the subject, “The Curse of Copper” which can be viewed at www.ascendantalert.ca. Also released is official correspondence related to the communities’ effort to enforce local environmental laws.

“The Intag cloud forest is blessed with some of the most important biodiversity on the planet. So properly, the communities of the Intag took the important democratic step of proclaiming their area an ecological county,”observed Beatrice Olivastri, Chief Executive Officer of Friends of the Earth Canada. “To enforce this ordinance, they’re insisting that all mining and prospecting arrangements located in the Intag be cancelled and are proceeding with legal steps to accomplish this. It is the height of arrogance to think that Ascendant, a Canadian junior mining company, believes it can ignore or can bypass this significant environmental law. What part of ‘no’ does Ascendant not understand?”

The information Ascendant provides for the public and shareholders on its website is inconsistent with the official correspondence made public today, issued by elected local representatives of the Intag to the Ecuadorian Minister of Energy and Mining, reaffirming their rejection of the Junín mining project and highlighting grave irregularities in Ascendant’s development process.

“Ascendant shareholders—and anyone concerned with proper disclosure and fair play in the market—should pay close attention to what Ascendant management is telling them and what is really going on,” said MiningWatch Canada spokesperson Jamie Kneen.

Carlos Zorrilla, Executive Director of DECOIN, Ecuador, added “The Canadian government is about to embark on a series of Roundtable hearings on the need to regulate the activities of Canadian mining companies overseas – and here is a perfect example of this need, given that alleged violations by Ascendant Copper have already been documented in complaints to the Ontario Securities Commission and the Canadian government.”


For additional information please contact:
Beatrice Olivastri, Friends of the Earth, (613) 241-0085 ext. 26; cell (613) 724-8690
Jamie Kneen or Joan Kuyek, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439
Carlos Zorrilla, DECOIN, ++593 6 2648509

Get the facts—view the film “The Curse of Copper” at www.ascendantalert.ca
The correspondence cited above is attached below.

The Intag region of Cotacachi County in the province of Imbabura, is part of both the Chocó and Ecuadorian Andes biodiversity hotspots. Cloud forests like that of Intag are among the most endangered ecosystems on the planet—down to less than 10 percent of their original extent, mostly destroyed in the past 40 years—and also contain exceptionally large numbers of plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world.