Nineteen Reasons Why Nortec Ventures Should Stay Out of the Intag Region of Ecuador

Canada’s Nortec Ventures Corp., a mining company based in Vancouver, announced this month its intention of buying Copper Mesa Mining Corporation’s Ecuadorian assets. Canada’s Nortec Ventures Corp., a mining company based in Vancouver, announced this month its intention of buying Copper Mesa Mining Corporation’s Ecuadorian assets.

Three Intag residents recently filed a lawsuit against Copper Mesa (formerly Ascendant Copper), as well as the Toronto Stock Exchange, for their alleged responsibility of ongoing violence directed at local farmers and community leaders who oppose mining in the region.
Currently, the principal obstacles to mining development in the Intag area are:

A. Based on the Bishi Metals Environmental Impact Assessment of mining in Intag, and on a small (450,000 ton) copper mine
1. Mining project would relocate hundreds of families from four communities.
2. Mining would impact primary cloud forests.
3. Project would cause massive deforestation.
4. Deforestation would lead to drying of local climate, affecting thousands of small farmers.
5. Forests in the concessions are the habitat of not less than 12 species of mammals and birds facing extinction, including jaguars, spectacled bears and the brown-faced spider monkey  (Based on incomplete studies, Decoin identified approximately 30 species of threatened or endangered plants and animals).
6. EIA predicted contamination of rivers and streams with lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium and other toxic substances.
7. Project would destroy pre-Incan archeological sites.
8. It would impact the Cotacachi-Capayas Ecological Reserve (one of the world’s most biologically diverse).

B. In addition
9. Large-scale mining would violate the legally-binding Cotacachi County Ecological Ordinance created in 2000.
10. In 2008 the Cotacachi County government created an 18,000 hectare municipal protected area right on top of the mining site. Mining is one of the activities prohibited within the protected area.

C. Opposition. There is widespread opposition to the Intag mining project. This includes:
11. All seven Parish township governments, the County government of Cotacachi and the Provincial government.
12. Most communities surrounding the mining project.
13. 90% of NGO’s in Cotacachi County and Intag oppose the project.

D. Exaggerated Copper Claims
14. In 2007, Micon International, the entity contracted by Ascendant Copper to evaluate the Junin copper deposit, said that it could not confirm their earlier estimates due to degradation of samples. Copper Mesa had been saying all along that the Junin copper deposit had four times more copper than what the Japanese inferred after years of exploration.

E. Further environmental challenges
15. The area receives between 3000 and 4000 millimeters of annual rainfall.
16. The ore contains toxic heavy metals and sulfur (which would cause Acid Mine Drainage).
17. There is a superabundance of underground water (according to Japanese EIA)
18. Area is exceptionally steep and mountainous.
19. The Toisan Range has many geological faults, posing significant earthquake threat.

Further Reading

Lawsuit: Canadian Mining Firm Financed Violence in Ecuador

Ecuador: Mining Protests Marginalized, But Growing

Ecuador: Mining and the Right of Way
In Ecuador, Mass Mobilizations Against Mining Confront President Correa
Copper Mesa Mining Expected to Lose Junin Project in Ecuador
Ecuador’s Constitution Gives Rights to Nature
NGO’s Respond to Ascendant Copper
Ecuador: Human Rights Organization Condemns Paramilitary Tactics by Ascendant Copper
Canadian Mining Project in Ecuador Tainted by Human Rights Abuses
We Will Fight Day by Day: No to Mining in Intag, Ecuador

Ecuadorians March for Justice in Quito

For more information please contact:


Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag