McGill Research Group Investigating
Canadian Mining in Latin America

Mirador, Proyecto Panantza-San Carlos, Ecuador

Key Data

Company:Corriente Resources Operational status:advanced development, received government approval as of 2011 Materials extracted:copper, gold Type of mine:open pit Main issues:indigenous rights, community relations, water


The conflict between the Shuar indigenous nation and Corriente Resources dates back to 2000 when Corriente first began operations in the region[i]. Since then, the company has been accused of creating pro-mining community organizations to splinter the regional indigenous associations[ii], perpetrating violence and intimidation against protesters[iii] and threatening local biodiversity[iv]. Additionally,  the Shuar see Corriente’s operations fundamentally as threatening their way of life and their right towards self-determination as indigenous peoples[v]. As one group of protesters put it “No more mines in our territory. We will defend our way of life with our customs and take care of our resources,”[vi]. Major protests and direct action against the mine operations began in 2006 after calls for dialogue with the company were ignored[vii]. Activists have also sued the company for a lack transparency and the company’s efforts to deliberately misinform community members[viii]. Despite a presidential decree in 2008 that annulled the company’s concession, the concession was restored in March of 2009, which sparked new rounds of protests, this time with renewed violence[ix]. Locals allege that pro-mining paramilitaries in the region have been receiving support from the company and that Corriente has worked to further divide the community by supporting pro-mining groups[x]. The company denies any wrongdoing[xi]. In July of 2009 the company had its project EIA approved by the National Water Secretariat and the Ministry of the Environment[xii] and in December 2011 President Correa gave the company the go-ahead to begin operations[xiii]. Though the company continues to list its headquarters in Vancouver, it was bought out by two Chinese companies, Chinese Railway Construction and Tongling Nonferrous Metals in January 2010[xiv]. Protests have continued including an occupation of the Chinese Embassy in March of 2012 by eight women opposed to the project[xv].


[i] Large-Scale Mining in Ecuador and Human Rights Abuses. International Federation for Human Rights. P 16. http://www.dd-rd.ca/site/_PDF/publications/Equateur_UK-LD.pdf

[ii] Ecuacorrientes en Cordillera del Cóndor. OCMAL. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_conf.php?nota=Conflicto&p_busca=18

[iii] Empresas mineras canadienses promueven la violencia en el Ecuador. OLCA. http://www.olca.cl/oca/ecuador/mineras15.htm

[iv] Shuar tienen plan de vida en la selva. OLCA. http://www.olca.cl/oca/ecuador/mineras32.htm

[v] Ibid.                                                              

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ecuacorrientes  en Cordillera del Cóndor. OCMAL. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_conf.php?nota=Conflicto&p_busca=18

[ix] Bullets fly over Canadian-owned mine. Toronto Star. http://www.minesandcommunities.org//article.php?a=9684

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Ecuacorrientes en Cordillera del Cóndor. OCMAL. http://www.olca.cl/ocmal/ds_conf.php?nota=Conflicto&p_busca=18

[xiii] Rafael Correa se alinea a las mineras transnacionales. No a la Mina. http://www.noalamina.org/mineria-latinoamerica/mineria-ecuador/rafael-correa-se-alinea-a-las-mineras-transnacionales

[xiv] Chinese to buy Corriente for Copper Interest. Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d92fd984-f4e1-11de-9cba-00144feab49a.html

[xv] Detienen mujeres que ocuparon Embajada China en protesta a la megamineria. No a la Mina. http://www.noalamina.org/mineria-latinoamerica/mineria-ecuador/detienen-mujeres-que-ocuparon-embajada-china-en-protesta-a-la-megamineria