Canadian mining company Ascendant Copper has faced a litany of setbacks in recent weeks in their efforts to open a large-scale copper mine in the Intag region of Ecuador according to reports from Defensa y Concervacion Ecologica de Intag (DECOIN).
On March 2nd, community members detained 3 employees of Daimi Services in Chalguayacu Bajo and were taken to Junin. Daimi is the public relations company hired by Ascendant to socialize their Environmental Impact Statement and get the Social Licence from communities. Police were sent in but after talking with community members sympathized with them. The employees were released and no one was arrested.
"While these acts are unfortunate, they are acts of a small and distinct minority in the region," said Ascendant President Gary E. Davis. "We will continue to finish the EIS and submit it to the Ministry in order to obtain the drilling permits necessary to take advantage of the upcoming summer season."
On Sunday Ascendant and Daimi organized a meeting in Chalguayacu Alto, a town considered "friendly" to mining, to socialize the company’s Environmental Impact Study. But local mining opponents, who were conspicuously not invited to the meeting, set up successful roadblocks that forced the company to change the venue to a farm far outside of the mining area.
What the company didn’t expect was the arrival of disgruntled members of Corporación para el Desarrollo de las Comunidades de García Moreno (CODEGAM) at the rescheduled meeting. They came to confront the mining company and Daimi to vent their anger and frustration at being lied to and taken advantaged of. Many CODEGAM members have expressed a desire to join forces with the Junín anti-mining group to, in their words, "kick out Ascendant once-and-for all." CODEGAM was previously in the pocket of Ascendant.
"The vast majority of the people in these communities want this project — which is committed to adhering to best industry practices on environmental and social matters — to move forward, and they recognize the many economic, as well as environmental, benefits to the region that will result from it," said Davis last week.
Local residents wonder when Davis and Ascendant will actually get the message and leave.