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Rainforest Rescue

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Long-standing resistance against mining in Ecuador's rainforest results in major legal victory

Local communities in Ecuador’s Toisan mountain region have won a landmark victory against mining companies seeking to exploit copper deposits in the area. For over 30 years, local communities have successfully resisted attempts by Japanese and Canadian mining companies to operate in the region.
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Recently, a lawsuit filed by local people resulted in a spectacular court victory at the Imbabura Provincial Court, and the environmental permits for the planned Llurimagua copper mine have been annulled permanently. State-owned mining firm ENAMI and Chilean copper producer CODELCO have been carrying out test drilling and prospecting work in the Llurimagua mining concession since 2014, planning the mine layout and extraction of the ore. The court's decision, which cannot be appealed, requires all activities to cease.
The court found that the permit violated the rights of the communities impacted by the mining project to be consulted on environmental issues and to protect nature. This ruling also sheds light on the role of the Ministry of the Environment in the mining companies' plans, which is highly questionable. It appears that the Ministry failed to enforce the proper conduct of necessary studies and mandatory consultation procedures. As a result, the loss of endangered species would have been irreparable had the mining project gone ahead.
The Ecuadorian Constitution enshrines the rights of nature, which are fully binding. The court in Imbabura strengthens these rights by ruling that authorities cannot issue environmental permits and concessions that contradict them. This ruling is a significant victory for those who seek to protect nature and their homes from mining. The communities of Intag have faced great hardship, but their perseverance has paid off. The victory strengthens the rights of nature, which Ecuador enshrined in its 2008 constitution, and demonstrates that united community support and legal work can be effective in protecting the environment.
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  • Joseph Githinji

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    Amazing news,other nations should borrow a leaf from This.

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  • Ford Brodeur

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    I hope the countries next door to Ecuador see this and get inspired to take up similar action in their courts!

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    • Elizabeth Gathigia

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      64 w

      Amazing news

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      • Christina Carlmark

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        64 w

        Love Ecuador! Great win.

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        • Munene Mugambi

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          64 w

          A great victory for the rainforests

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          • Tabitha Kimani

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            64 w

            Wow.... the power of protests and collective responsibility. Its a great win for generations to come.

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            • Kevin

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              64 w

              good good

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              • Daniel Waweru

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                64 w

                Great!

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