Ecuador: Shuar Indigenous groups culture threatened by planned copper mine

Posted on April 29, 2014 • Filed under: Ecuador, Enviromental Issues

Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, a gigantic open pit copper and gold mine is planned in the heart of the Shuar peoples’ territory. David Dene tells the story of a growing international campaign to uphold and defend the ‘Rights of Nature’, in Ecuador and beyond.

In 2012 I received a call for help from ‘the family’ as they were, and still are, threatened by a huge open pit copper and gold mine, set to mine 60,000 tons of ore per day.


The Open pit mine, to be 800 meters deep, 4 kilometers wide and impacting over 200 water sources will have horrendous effects on the Shuar Culture and their ability to live and pursue their lives.

This mine, financed by Chinese Government-owned mega-companies, has the potential to become one of the biggest mines on the Planet rivaling Bingham Mine at Kennecott in the USA.

The area is of huge bio-diversity and contains endemic species. In other words, the mine is in direct contradiction to the Rights of Nature enshrined in the Constitution of Ecuador.

The Mirador mine will be one of the first cases to be judged

The Mirador Mine, in the Shuar territory was accepted as one of the cases to be judged, and at that time, in Quito, I was enrolled in an European Citizens Initiative.

I am now working as co-ordinator in a working group (currently 40 people in 14 EU countries) who are drafting a Directive to propose to the European Commission, on the Rights of Nature. We aim to bring a European Citizens Initiative later this year

Last Summer I visited Ecuador traveling with Amazon Watch on an advocacy tour to see the damage caused by Chevron in the North Eastern Ecuadorian Amazon. It is almost beyond belief. The ‘Toxic Tour’ is an apt description.

We also visited the Sarayaku tribe, deep in the jungle, who won their case against the Government of Ecuador. The case was heard in the International Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.

For the first time in the history of the court the judges visited the accused Government and declared against the Government of Ecuador, citing Human Rights abuse. Read Article

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