MiningWatch Canada

MiningWatch Canada

April 19, 2007 15:29 ET

Ecuador's Toisan Range Threatened by Copper Mining Project-Immediate Action Needed on Roundtable Report

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 19, 2007) - An Ecuadorian environmental group today called on the Canadian government to insist that its companies abide by the highest standards of conduct when operating overseas in order to prevent Canadian mining companies from continuing to threaten fragile eco-systems and local communities, while tarnishing Canada's image both at home and internationally.

Carlos Zorrilla, Executive Director of DECOIN (Defensa y Conservacion Ecologica de Intag - Intag Ecological Defence and Conservation, a small environmental organisation based in the Intag region of Ecuador) is in Ottawa to speak out against these abuses and to ask the Canadian government to adopt all of the recommendations proposed by the Advisory Group of the Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility as an important first step in addressing this growing problem.

Canadian mining company Ascendant Copper Corporation's Junin mining concession, situated in the Toisan mountain range of northwest Ecuador, allegedly contains millions of tons of copper ore lying beneath some of the most biodiverse and endangered forests on Earth. It also threatens communities with relocation and endangers thousands of hectares of first growth cloud forest, pristine rivers and dozens of species facing extinction. If allowed to go ahead, this would be one of the world's most environmentally devastating mining projects.

"The Canadian government must take strong measures to curb the behaviour of Canadian mining companies," says Zorrilla. "The situation is especially critical in the Intag region of Ecuador," he continues. "There is an atmosphere of insecurity in an area previously known as being exceptionally peaceful."

Ascendant's presence in Ecuador has created deep mistrust within families and communities. Many communities and the region's local parish governments still oppose the project.

For more information, including documentation of paramilitary activity, human rights abuses, and potential environmental damage, please see www.decoin.org, www.intagsolidarity.org, www.miningwatch.ca, and www.ascendantalert.ca

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