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Ecuador and a referendum on mining (from IKN662)

The blind faith placed by Twitter Morons in the Lasso government’s party line and the soothing words of the mining companies exposed to the Mini Basket Case country is an endless source of mirth to this desk. The day it all comes crashing down on your ignorance and greed, remember who toldyaso. This from IKN662, out last night:

Ecuador: Quito to hold its own mining referendum

This may become interesting. On Friday, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court voted (15) by a 6 to 3 majority to allow a “popular consultation” (i.e. legally binding local referendum vote) to go ahead on whether to allow metals mining in six rural localities in the Quito region of Ecuador. The areas in question cover the sparsely populated rural municipalities of Nono, Calacalí, Nanegal, Nanegalito, Gualea and Pacto, whose combined population is under 20,000 people. However, there’s a big twist in this tale because the CC  also ruled that the capital city Quito as inside the catchment area for the referendum. That means a cool 1.6m people are added to the zone and now, anti-mine protesters have six months to collect around 200,000 signatures in order to get to the 10% minimum barrier and force the vote to happen. While the specific region of Ecuador isn’t one that directly affects the main mining investments for FDI capital or any of the companies we normally cover via capital markets in Ecuador, the referendum decision by the CC will throw a major spotlight on the mining industry, assuming that the organizers can overcome that large barrier to entry and collect enough signatures inside the time limit. For an industry that much prefers to fly under the radar, this CC decision is a hatful of bad news and will get even worse assuming the vote goes ahead, as it’s just as likely to become a de facto vote against the increasingly unpopular President Guillermo Lasso in the main urban area as it is about the long-term future of the rural zones around the capital. There are many other petitions for similar referendum votes waiting for admission and approval and the precedent of allowing them to take place is a clear negative for the industry, as previous votes of this nature and of non-binding local polls have always gone against permitting mining.

Watch this space, the Mini Basket Case country may have just thrown another spanner in the works of its mining industry.

2 Comments

    There is no doubt that given 6 months time, the anti mining folk in ecuador can get 200,000 signatures on a petition opposing any new mine. NIMBY. Only way activists dont get the required 200,000 to put it to vote is if lots of signatures on the petitions get disqualified for legal or technical reasons. As our comrade stalin said, and i paraphrase, it is not who votes that matters but who counts the vote.

    Reply

      This is why the campaigners’ rough target is 200k, rather than an approx 165k minimum for 10% +1 vote, to get a buffer against contested signatures. However, Stalin’s angle is less likely because the petitioning system is officialized in Ecuador and, unfortunately for the mining industry, reasonably efficient. Anti-mine collectives were reportedly asking for their “petition packs” from the CNE electoral body first thing Monday morning. So yes, you’re right in saying they’re likely to reach the required amount and the antis know it, there was much joyous celebration over the weekend about this CC decision among environmentalist groups and CONAIE people. But they’re also just as likely to get the referendum on the offical ballot and, even though the process will draw out for a year or two, the ongoing publicity from the process isn’t going to do mining any favours.

      Reply

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