Ecuadorean NGO DECOIN has expressed outrage at the findings of a report on a World Bank funded mining project in Ecuador. The Prodeminca mining development and environmental quality project collected geochemical data from 36,000 square kilometres of Western Ecuador (3.6 million hectares), including seven national protected areas and dozens of forest reserves.
The Inspection Panel found flaws in the Environmental Impact Assessments, yet decided that the project did not fundamentally violate World Bank policies. DECOIN commented: “the Panel’s unfortunate and unjust decision gives a green light to the long-held plans of the national and international mining sector of gaining access to millions of hectares of protected areas in Ecuador for mining, and inevitably sets the stage for endless conflicts between mining companies, and local populations and their local governments”.
These issues will be much discussed when the Bank unveils its planned review of its oil, gas and mining projects. The Bank has selected Emil Salim, former State Minister for Population and Environment in Indonesia to run this review of extractive industries. Joji Carino, a former commissioner on the World Commission on Dams, said “The Bank is misleading people by comparing this new review to the World Commission on Dams. The extractive industries review will be far less independent and rigorous than the WCD. It will not be properly open to the voices of the communities most directly affected by mining”. Meanwhile Friends of the Earth International are circulating a joint sign-on appeal for the World Bank to institute an immediate moratorium and eventual total phase-out of support for the fossil fuel and mining sectors.