Minister Licenciado Tarcisio Granizo
Ministry of Environment
Secretary Humberto Cholango
National Secretariat of Water,
3rd of July 2018
Dear Minister, dear Secretary,
With this letter, we would like express our concern about the problematic of a gold mining concession in your country, the concession to the firm Minera Cachabi Ltd. in the area called Cerro del Mozo in Nabón county, Azuay province, which as we have heard is currently subject of contentious processes.
This is of great concern to us, as our contacts in Ecuador state that this area is located at a height of more than 3000 meters and that no less than 24 rivers and 27 streams are born there. Consequently, mining activities in that zone inevitably would affect the availability of both drinking and irrigation water for a series of communities located downhill, in the counties of Nabón and Oña. We believe that you share our conviction that water nowadays is certainly more valuable than gold, as it sustains life itself, soil fertility and food sovereignty.
Moreover, as official documents state, the Cerro del Mozo area pertains to a zone that has been declared Protective Forest by the Ministry of Environment in 2010, a measure that in our understanding states that it deserves special environmental protection. Nevertheless, it seems that under the previous government, the National Secretary of Water has agreed to the use of water for mining activities in the Cerro del Mozo area, and that the National Forest Director who works at the Ministry of Environment extended a certificate of environmental feasibility in 2012.
We are aware that these decisions were taken before both of you took office. This is precisely why we address you, knowing from your respective personal histories that you share our genuine concern for the environment and the sustainability of life that. On theses grounds, we ask you to take action quickly, review this case and use the power vested in you to responsibly revert the respective concessions and certificates. We are confident you will act in the spirit of the results of the popular consultation carried out in early February 2018 by your government, during which an overwhelming majority of citizens outruled mining activities in protected areas.
Especially because international media have repeatedly reported about corruption cases in relation with the adjudication of infrastructure and development projects during the government of Rafael Correa, we are convinced that a thorough revision of the real environmental implications of a large-scale mining project in such a fragile environment as the Cerro del Mozo is necessary.
We take the opportunity to express, dear Minister, dear Secretary, the assurances of our highest consideration.