go to top
An indigenous woman protests the environmental policies of President Lenin Moreno, in Quito, Ecuador An indigenous woman from the Amazon protests the environmental policies of President Lenin Moreno’s government, in Quito, Ecuador, March 12, 2018 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Ecuador Has Big Plans for Its Mining Industry. But at What Environmental Cost?

Monday, Aug. 12, 2019

In mid-July, government officials inaugurated operations at the sprawling Mirador mine in southern Ecuador. An open-pit copper, gold and silver mine in the Zamora-Chinchipe province near the Peruvian border, Mirador’s reserves reportedly include 3.2 million tons of copper, 3.4 million ounces of gold and 27.1 million ounces of silver. The amount of copper makes it Ecuador’s largest copper mine, but still smaller than the massive copper mines in Chile and Peru. The mine, which can already produce 10,000 tons of minerals per day, is expected to increase its output to 60,000 tons per day and potentially earn the Ecuadorian government $7.6 billion over its lifespan.

Its opening came a month after President Lenin Moreno’s market-friendly government, eager to rebuild Ecuador’s underdeveloped mining sector and end its reliance on crude oil exports, announced an ambitious new public mining plan. It aims to hugely expand mining exports from $270 million in 2018 to more than $2 billion by 2021. If realized, the mining sector could soon contribute as much as 4 percent to Ecuador’s GDP, up from the current 1.6 percent. ...

Want to Read the Rest?
Login or Subscribe Today.
Get unlimited access to must-read news, analysis and opinion from top experts. Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 9,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.

YES, I want to subscribe now.