Ecuador: face-off in Intag Valley mining dispute

Hundreds of troops from Ecuador's national police force on May 8 occupied the Intag Valley, backing up a team from the National Mining Company (Enami) sent to carry out an environmental impact study for the Llurimagua mining project—over the protests of local campesinos. Troops, including from the elite Special Operations Group (GOE), have established a cordon around the mineral concession area and set up numerous check-points where local residents are being stopped and made to show identification. Enami is seeking to develop the Llurimagua (formerly Junín) open-pit copper project in a joint venture with Codelco, Chile's state mining company. Intag Valley residents charge that the government never properly sought their consent for the project, which they say will damage the valley's agricultural economy. However, the project has the support of Imbabura province governor Wilmer Taboada, who personally accompanied the Enami team. (El Comercio, Quito, UDW, May 11; El Comercio, May 8; Reuters, Aug. 20, 2013)