Leifsen: Large-scale mining in Ecuador - Conflict, Resistance and Ethnicity

Abstract: The Mirador project, located in the South-Eastern Ecuadorian Amazon, is a large-scale mining project granted a concession of 9,928 hectares of land. Local organizations are permanently resisting this project that currently plans the production of 60,000 metric tons daily. The magnitude of this mega extractive activity, without any precedent in Ecuador, and due to the ecological and social damage that this industry generates, inevitably actualizes the issue of socio-environmental conflict within the development debate. We address in this article how the economic development envisioned to result from the aggressive open-pit extraction of minerals, is incompatible with the justice reclaimed by the affected population, which in many cases face processes of expropriation of their land, and displacements to areas outside their territories of origin. We also analyse the resistance process against the mine in the El Pangui canton, carried out by an alliance of small-scale livestock farmers of mestizo origin and indigenous Shuar population, and finally we discuss how ethnicity is articulated in relation to this conflict, and emerges as a core element of the political strategy of resistance.

Keywords: Socio environmental conflicts; Amazonia; mining; ethnicity; Ecuador; indigenous rights

Read the article (in Spanish)

Published 4. October 2017 - 14:06 - Updated 4. October 2017 - 14:06