VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC DIALOGUES WITH THE ECUADORIAN MINING SECTOR.
This April 24, 2019 the Vice-president of the Republic, Otto Sonnenholzner received the representatives of 20 mining companies and the authorities of the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber, this audience came about with the objective to present the mining sector´s economic and social projections as well as their interest to develop an environmentally sustainable and supported activity.
Vice-president Sonnenholzner manifested that the Government maintains an openness to dialogue with all sectors that contribute to the country´s development, highlighted the mining potential that Ecuador has and the necessity of mining with adequate environmental control to protect the water sources, like mining concessions of the first level that operate under international standards. In his words, stressing the importance of a firm hand with illegal mining and transition to formal and technical mining that will contribute benefits for all Ecuadorians. Richard Martinez minister of Finance and Economy was also part of this meeting reminding the investors the support and political will from the Central Government so this sector can develop in a favorable way, under a framework of principles of respect for nature and supporting the Economic and Prosperity Plan.
Carlos Perez, minister of Energy and Non Renewable Natural Resources, announced the imminent issue of a mining policy that will bring legal security in the contracts and agreements with all companies that come to the country to invest and work, he also indicated that efforts are being made to issue regulations regarding the popular consultations, mining in water sources and an update to the Ecuadorian cadastral map, among others.
Santiago Yepez Davila president of the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber, exposed the economic figures of mining (2017-2021) where income of 10.000 million dollars are expected, which would constitute the second item for the country´s sustenance after oil, the mining sector development is already showing , a clear example is the province of Zamora, where the projects of Fruta del Norte and Mirador are located, for 2019 the GDP has increased in 35 points.
In reference to the social footprint that mining has left up to now, Ron Hoschstein president of Lundin Gold presented the project Fruta del Norte, that has been recognized at national and international levels for its socially responsible practices. Catering Las Peñas, presented as an example of a success story, is now the third biggest company in Zamora Chinchipe, this organization was started by a group of 5 ex workers that thanks to the support and training received from Lundin Gold is now a company that employs 270 people.
Andrew Taunton Vicepresident of Sol Gold presented the attendants with the Cascabel project which is considered a world class discovery, the income that represents will allow the country to alleviate the fiscal burden and allow it to invest in social development plans like road construction, hospitals and schools among others.
With the start of production of the strategic projects of Fruta del Norte, Mirador, Loma Larga and Rio Blanco it is expected an increase of 1.4% to 4% of the GDP, also it is expected the creation of 25.000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. All the companies that attended the meeting are committed to develop a mining that constitutes one of the supporting pillars of the country, framing their work in the mitigation of environmental impact, social and economic responsibility for an Ecuador that is recovering from a period of economic recession.
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This May 8, 2019 the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber performed a solemn session to commemorate its 40 years of institutional life, this special event was attended by government authorities, diplomatic corps accredited in the country, representatives of multilateral organizations , trade union delegates, mining executives, academy members and different actors who work for the development of a responsible mining activity in the country.
Santiago Yepez, president of the Chamber initiated the program with a historical review, recalling the initiation of this important guild in 1979. Thanking very especially the work of all the people along these 40 years of fruitful trajectory and reminded that this year an important precedent for Ecuadorian mining is marked with the entering into production of two important projects, Fruta del Norte and Mirador.
As a very special guest, in representation of the President of the Republic, Richard Martinez, minister for Finance and Economy, presented mining as a key sector in the development of the National Prosperity Plan (Plan Nacional de Prosperidad), promoted by the National Government and focused along 4 main axis:
Fiscal Consolidation and Monetary Stability, Social Protection and Rights Guarantees, Productivity, Competitiveness and Productive Employment and Transparency and Efficcient Management of the States Resources. Pointing out that there is no country in existence that has developed without the joint efforts of the public and private sectors, that is the importance of the work of the trade unions and chambers. To conclude emphasizing that mining is a daily part of human beings and their progress, highlighting the proactive development, sustained, with social responsibility and quality standards in the sector in the last years.
Pablo Campana minister of Production and Foreign Commerce, Investment and Fishing, saluted the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber thru a video conference, highlighted that 53 per cent of the direct foreign investment that came to Ecuador during 2018 came from this sector, 742 million dollars, a figure that will only increase with the start of production of several mining projects in 2019; also mentioned the Government interest in supporting a formal mining that develops its activities within the framework of strict adherence to the law, supporting the development of the communities and the growth of the national economy.
As part of the Ecuadorian National Federation of Industry Chambers, Pablo Zambrano president of this organization quoted: “Legal mining, formal, regulated, generates a virtuous circle that allows benefits to the country. This is a long term activity”, also reminded the support that the mining sector has had and will have from all the industrial and productive components in the country.
Within the prominent presentations of this great event, assistants met Diego Hernandez, president of the Chilean National Society of Mining, considered the highest ranked executive in the Chilean mining sector, his presentation set his country as an example in the development of a sustainable activity which has allowed it to become the number one producer of copper in the world, mentioning that it is difficult to quantify , but estimates that without mining Chile today would have 30% less actual wealth thus lower social development.
The Ecuador National Assembly as well as the diplomatic missions of Canada, Chile, United Kingdom and Peru thru their accredited ambassadors bestowed awards to the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber for its work during these 40 years.
To conclude the event the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber acknowledged several companies that are currently working in country: Lundin Gold received an award for its social responsibility practices recognized at a national and international level. Ecuacorriente S.A. for the generation of 2.400 direct jobs and to the Cascabel mining project of SolGold which is considered the biggest mining discovery in Ecuador in the last few years.
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This May 31, 2019 in a press conference, the authorities from Ecuadorian Business Committee (CEE) Chamber of Commerce Quito (CCQ), Ecuadorian Mining Chamber (CME) and Industry and Production Chamber (CIP), requested a judgment from the Constitutional Court regarding the demands for a public consultation that aims to limit the development of sectors of national interest.
This was done after president Lenin Moreno in his May 24th Address to the Nation issued a clear message where he expressed the support to a mining activity that respects nature and water sources, emphasizing the need to protect the resources that enter the country thanks to responsible mining.
“Foreign investment is necessary for the country´s economic reactivation and legal guarantees are indispensable if we desire to attract new capitals”, reassured Patricio Alarcon, president of the Ecuadorian Business Committee. Adding that in this period where jobs have become precarious, sectors like mining aim to significantly contribute to the country.
Santiago Yepez, president of the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber, highlighted the figures and advantages of the great mining projects by 2021. “Approximately USD 3.800 million in investment, USD 3.200 million in exports, USD 1.300 million in taxes and the generation of more than 32.000 direct jobs and 90.000 indirect jobs.
In the provinces of Imbabura and Carchi, where recently there have been requests for popular consultation the following companies: SolGold, Newcrest, INV Minerals, Cornerstone, CODELCO, BHP Billington are undergoing exploration activities. All these companies have international capitals and work under the highest world class mining standards, according to the best social and environmental practices.
In the case of Project Cascabel of SolGold, it is considered as the biggest copper and gold deposit in Ecuador. The company has been working since 2012 developing this deposit and during this time it has invested USD 150 million in mining exploration projects in Ecuador. Their operation is characterized by being responsible and sustainable, aligned and in compliance with the regulations in force .
As president of the country´s Federation of Industry Chambers and the Chamber of Industry and Production, Pablo Zambrano made a call to take precautions and protect the legal security of the productive sectors which are the sectors that generate formal jobs, pay taxes and comply in full with the Ecuadorian legislation. “To enable popular consultations based on particular interests is an attempt against the rights of all Ecuadorians. In this context, constitutional judges must rule abiding their reason of being as prosecutors of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador”.
This June 18, 2019, the representatives of the Industry and Production Chamber (CIP) and the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber (CME) signed an inter institutional cooperation agreement that among its main axis is to propose joint activities and strategies in order to position the responsible mining activity as one of the pillars of the country´s social and economic development.
Within this agreement, it is also established to foster training and dialogue spaces which will allow the people in general to get to know the benefits of formal mining.
Pablo Zambrano, President of CIP mentioned the importance of unity and of joint management of the production sectors as they move towards the same objective, which is to give impulse to a country that has been immersed in a period of economic recession. This can only be achieved thru investment and generation of formal employment positions.
To finalize, Santiago Yepez Davila, President of CME reminded all the importance of legal stability to be able to comply with the commitments made with the State and the people, he also thanked the support that CIP the most representative trade union in Ecuador has given to mining.
Industrial mining is on its way to become Ecuador´s second source of income by 2021, performing its work with the highest standards of social and environmental responsibilities. Hand in hand with the latest technologies and a qualified work force that for the most part come from the same area that the mining projects are located.
This July 9, 2019 among the directors elected for the period 2019-2021, the new authorities for the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber have been elected, it is our pleasure to present to you:
Ben Mace- President Ecuadorian Mining Chamber
David Larenas- Vice President Ecuadorian Mining Chamber
We are convinced that their management will continue the work of the Ecuadorian Mining Chamber into a maintainable and sustainable activity as a pillar of our country’s social and economic development.
We wish them all the success in their endeavors.