Ecuadorian Indigenous Organizations Deny Agreement with Solaris Resources Ahead of AGM

MiningWatch – Pueblo Shuar Arutam (PSHA) – Amazon Watch – WITNESS

On Monday, June 24, Solaris Resources Inc. is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM). This year, Solaris will be focused on pitching shareholders on its expansion program drilling and recent financing.

While this is happening, in South America, Indigenous organizations continue to protest its flagship Warintza copper-gold project in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. They have also issued a public statement warning shareholders that it is false that the company Solaris has reached agreements with the Shuar Arutam People.

Three presidents from Shuar communities, including the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), signed a statement denying a publication issued by Solaris, and published only on its Facebook page, claiming that PSHA has signed an agreement with the Canadian company, following a resolution by the Shuar Warints and Yawis Center. Jaime Palomino, President of the Government Council of the Shuar Arutam People states: “In the assembly from June 9 to 11, 2024, the comrades of Warints and Yawis requested a visit to discuss in depth the possible impacts of the mining project. We signed a resolution to set up a technical table with our communities about the project. Not with the company. The Strategic Alliance and the company took this information to say that we reached an agreement with them. PSHA has never and will never sign any agreement with Solaris.

Solaris has been conducting exploration work in Ecuador since 2020 but has been unable to advance due to political, legal obstacles and lack of social licence. Earlier this year, PSHA and its national and international allies, filed a complaint against the company to the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) for disclosing biased information about its relationships with PSHA that opposes the project and failing to comply with its obligation to regularly disclose political and legal risks in Ecuador that may impede the development of its Warintza project. 

Since then, Solaris Resources has had a string of setbacks that has put the project in jeopardy and put into question its transparency with investors. Among them, in May, the company announced the well-promoted CAD$130 million investment deal with Chinese firm Zijin Mining was dead, abruptly ending a much-touted infusion of capital needed to advance its flagship Warintza project. In April, the company was also forced to rectify various misleading technical claims about the project in its disclosures. In March, the International Labor Organization (ILO) concluded that the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA) had not been consulted regarding Solaris’ Warintza project.

Failure to obtain PSHA's consent has led Solaris to seek also approval for the project from the former president of the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centers (FICSH). However the former president negotiated behind closed doors with the company and was subsequently dismissed by the members of the FICSH in a democratic vote. A situation that unleashed violence at the FICSH headquarters in April and has kept the Shuar communities on edge. 

As Mukuim Mukuham Ramon of the Yaupi parish, a member of FICSH, says in a recent communiqué, "I ask you Lowell (Solaris Resources) to go back to your land, to not divide us, and do not harm us."

Solaris Resources continues to disregard the self-determination of Indigenous Shuar communities,” says Viviana Herrera, Latin America Program Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada. “This latest declaration by PSHA denying any agreement with Solaris is another blow for the company and its greenwashing PR to promote the project. It’s clear they don’t have the social licence for this project. Shareholders concerned about Indigenous rights and transparency should be concerned about this.”

"It is evident that Solaris is desperate to win back the trust of investors who are starting to doubt the efficacy of its management and transparency of its communications. The fact is that the project keeps facing social opposition and conflict and financial difficulties, and it remains a threat to the Amazon. As Solaris’ AGM nears, investors must not take the company’s word at face value. They must look at the complete picture and recognize that money put into Warintza will be subject to too much risk,” says Mary Mijares, Climate Finance Campaigner at Amazon Watch.

Media Contacts:

  • Ricardo Pérez Bailón, Western Amazon Communications Advisor, Amazon Watch: [email protected] or +51 943 992 012
  • Viviana Herrera, Latin America Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada: [email protected] or +1 (438) 993-1264
  • Laura Salas, Senior Program Manager, Latin America and the Caribbean, WITNESS: [email protected]
  • Jaime Palomino, Ecuador, President of the Government Council of the Shuar Arutam People: +593 96 158 8120 (Spanish)