Íntag Case | Llurimagua Mining Project

  • Post category:Nature

In this new segment we begin by telling you about the Íntag Case and the Llurimagua mining project. Here’s a video and more information about the historical case.


This video was made in collaboration with CEDENMA, Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights and Íntag Santuario de Vida.

Íntag is a buffer zone of the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and the Choco Ecuatoriano bio-region, considered among the ten biodiversity hotspots in the world, that is, unique species and lots. It is also a miners’ paradise and, despite the fact that their communities obtained a protection action and precautionary measures to take care of their nature, the ratification of this sentence is still awaited and integral reparation is being sought for the damages already caused in various explorations.

So this is what happened.


In the 1990s, a Japanese company began mining exploration in a territory of 4829 hectares. The communities formed resistance and the Defense and Ecological Conservation of Íntag (DECOIN) was born.

After several struggles with different companies that tried to resume exploration, in April 2005 the National Assembly approved the Mining Mandate, which eliminated around 80% of mining concessions in the country.

Due to opposition, several companies abandoned the project over the years.

But in January 2009, the Mining Law was approved that encouraged large-scale mining projects in the country and in 2010 the president in charge, Rafael Correa, ordered the creation of the National Mining Company (Enami EP) and the mining projects came to life again.

It was in November 2011 when the Ministry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources failed the country and handed over the Llurimagua mining concession to Enami EP.

In 2014, supported by the police, they violated Íntag’s defenders, entered the concession area and until 2018 had made 90 holes. And it was all irresponsible mining.

But the communities did not rest and in the middle of the pandemic a light shone.

On September 24, 2 frogs were the stars of the case as it was found that the mining industry in Llurimagua is an imminent and serious threat to the endangered harlequin snout and confused nurse frogs.

A judge in Cotacachi granted a protection action and precautionary measures against the Ministry of Environment and Water MAAE.

For more than 25 years the communities of Íntag have resisted mining.

The consequences of a copper exploitation in one of the most biodiverse forests on the planet involves:

The relocation of various communities.

The extinction of hundreds of species.

The pollution of rivers for thousands of years.

Mass deforestation.

Destruction of pre-Inca archaeological sites.


After the first instance ruling in which it was decided to stop mining activities and cancel the concessions, said announcements have not yet been ratified, nor has an order for comprehensive reparation been issued.


Ratification of the ruling would halt the second phase of advanced exploration, which means avoiding contamination in 160 new wells in total. The area includes the buffer zone of the Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park.

Not only frogs will benefit from this ratification, but also thousands of species and the more than 200 endangered and critically endangered.


In March 2019, the Office of the Comptroller General of the State published its final report on the Special Examination of the Llurimagua mining project in which it documents TENS OF SERIOUS NON-COMPLIANCE by the company and officials from different state institutions carried out during the more than four years presence of CODELCO in the community forest of Junín. Entire remediation is required.

WE MAKE A CALL: to get interested and promote a ratification that will have a historical and judicial weight that will protect the most biodiverse humid forest on the planet. Let’s get informed and share information to defend our nature.