The military operation that last Saturday seized and destroyed dozens of machinery involved in informal mining in the cantons San Lorenzo and Eloy Alfaro, Esmeraldas, is questioned again by the victims and provincial authorities, though government officials insist to justify the action.
The Minister of Internal and External Security, Homero Arellano, said Thursday that in the procedure 67 machineries were rendered, officials indicated, but miners say there were more than 100 excavators, those destroyed by explosives.
The action left a bullet wounded that is recovering in a hospital in Ibarra (Imbabura) at the moment, while miners and contractors affected yesterday were enlisted to begin a sit-in protest. With lawyer advice they want to sue the State nationally and internationally, as they say 14 dealers (benefiting 400 people) have the correspondent permission, except the environmental one to exploit.
Military intervention is supported by the Executive Order 783 which provides a state of emergency in two counties for 60 days “to prevent, stop and eliminate illegal mining” and “protect the health right of its people and for the conservation of the ecosystem. “
President of the Chamber of Mines of Esmeraldas, Guillermo Godoy said the former minister of nonrenewable resources, Germanicus Pinto, authorized small miners to work in northern Esmeraldas and that even last week they attended to training in the Ministry of Environment. They do not explain themselves why they acted against all of them, even against those who handle their permissions.
Source: El Universo Newspaper