Ecuador – Intag Assembly: In Defence of Our Territory
(Intag, Ecuador) With the presence of approximately 2,000 people representing the 7 parishes that make up the Intag area, the Intag-wide assembly “In Defence of Our Territory” was held this Friday, September 20, 2019 in the community of Pucará, Apuela Parish.
The assembly was attended by Yacu Pérez, Prefect of Azuay; Monsignor Geovanny Paz, Bishop of Latacunga; and the Ombudsman of Imbabura, Katherine Andrade, who all addressed the attendees with emotional and deep reflections on the national mining problem.
Also present were presidents of the Parish Boards of the Intag area, Cotacachi County Assembly members, and representatives of the Prefecture of Imbabura, SENAGUA (Water Secretariat), the Municipal Council of Cotacachi, UNORCAC (Union of Campesino and Indigenous Organizations of Cotacachi), the Commonwealth of the Andean Chocó and of multiple organizations of the Intag area.
The Mayor of Cotacachi, the Ministries of Environment and Energy and of Non-Renewable Resources, as well as the Mining Regulation and Control Agency (ARCOM) were all absent, despite having been invited; absent too were the heads of the mining companies that have concessions in the Intag area, such as ENAMI, CODELCO, Cornerstone, and Cerro Quebrado, a subsidiary of the Australian BHP, who were likewise invited.
The assembly members presented several resolutions in plenary which were then voted on, confirming the approval – by overwhelming majority – of the following resolutions:
- Request the Ombudsman's Office to extend precautionary measures in favour of the Intag communities due to legal breaches and contempt by the mining companies ENAMI, Cornerstone, Cerro Quebrado (BHP) and CODELCO.
- Request from the Prefect of Imbabura that, as GEOPARK is the product of collective effort throughout the province, that it become a platform for conservation, environmental education, tourism and sustainable agricultural production. That it is not a framework to promote mining and, on the contrary, the annulment of all mining concessions in GEOPARK is essential because it is not compatible with the desired model.
- That more frequent military controls be established with the support of citizens to prevent and control illegal mining, as well as establish community controls in various parts of the area.
- Request the Office of the Ombudsman to file a criminal complaint for contempt of the court ruling of June 19, 2019 by the mining companies ENAMI EP and Cornerstone, who continue to work illegally in the Magdalena 1 and Magdalena 2 concessions, in spite of the withdrawal of the environmental registry by the Ministry of the Environment.
- Request parish and municipal authorities to initiate Constitutional Protective Action (Acción de Protección) in favour of the entire Intag area to revoke mining concessions granted illegally, without prior consultation or environmental consultation.
- Require the Municipality of Cotacachi to respect and comply with the ordinance that created the Municipal Area for Conservation and Sustainable Use, Intag-Toisan (ACUSMIT).
- Require local governments, the Municipality, Parish Boards, and the Prefecture to finance the generation of new sustainable productive enterprises.
- Require the relevant authorities as well as the Prefecture, Office of the Ombudsman, the Ministry of the Environment, Parish Boards, and Municipality to enforce the resolutions of the Comptroller General, Ombudsman, and the Provincial Court of Justice of Imbabura, and that CODELCO, ENAMI, Cerro Quebrado, and Cornerstone leave the Intag area. In case of non-compliance in a timely manner (2 months), the proposal put forth by the inhabitants of Cerro Pelado, Junín, and other communities who are defending water resources and productive activities, and who request the removal of the mining companies from the territory, is accepted.
- Reject the project of the private hydroelectric company HIDROPAZ in the parishes of Apuela and Cuellaje.
- Give a period of two (2) months for the execution of the present resolutions of the Intag Assembly, otherwise direct measures will be taken.
- The Assembly stands in solidarity with the people of the province of Bolívar and demands the immediate removal from the territory of police and army personnel that are protecting transnational mining companies and violating the rights of campesinos who are defend their territory from the extractivist model.
Intag’s parishes are committed to executing the following resolutions
- Do not allow illegal mining
- Demand that mining concessions be revoked in all of Intag.
- Demand that the lands be returned to their true owners, the campesinos.
- Request a meeting with the President of the Republic of Ecuador to inform him of the biological, productive and cultural wealth of the Intag that is opposed to mining and demand the annulment of mining concessions.
- Request before the relevant authorities that community, parish and county water sources be declared a world heritage.
- Convoke an Intag-wide march to UNACEM for the company to compensate the Intag territory after more than 30 years of exploitation without accruing any benefits for the population.
At the end of the event, parish leaders, along with the general public, pledged to firmly defend nature and life through an oath taken by Monsignor Geovanní Paz.
Media Contacts in Intag:
- Angel Flores 096 962 2041/06 3017512/06 3022039
- Marcia Ramírez 099 368 2663
- Silvia Quilumbango 095 923 4398/06 914 459
- Luis Burbano 099 756 5145/06 3016 208
- José Cueva 099 934 7230
Media Contact in Canada:
- Kirsten Francescone, MiningWatch Canada, +1 437 345-9881