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5/1/08

Ecuador: The people that really matter want mining in the country

On 22nd April, the President of the Shuar Federation of Zamora-Chinchipe wrote a letter to Alberto Acosta, President of the Nation Assembly that decreed all mining should stop for the next 180 days while the new mining law is drafted.

Yours truly has obtained a copy of that letter, and here it is translated into English below. The copy i was given is a PDF scan of a photocopy so I can't peg it up here. However I'd be glad to send you the original via mail if you want a look*.

Very interesting to see how the people that really matter, the Shuar indigenous population living in the mining regions, SUPPORT the responsible miners who are working the area. Anyway...no more blab from me, let's hear what the people that matter say:

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Quito, 22 April 2008

Dear Economist Alberto Acosta,

As leader of the Zamora Chinchipe Shuar Federation and representing around 6000 Shuar, I am deeply worried about the recent approval of the Mining Mandate of the National Constitutional Assembly. This Mandate that you supported and voted in favour of has caused a serious impact in the well-being of the Shuar people and their families in the province of Zamora Chinchipe.

It is possible that you are not aware that our people have worked for nearly seven years with responsible mining companies, who through their investments have created over a thousand direct and indirect jobs in our region. These jobs have been put at risk by the National Assembly through the Mining Mandate, which has unilaterally suspended all medium and large scale mining projects in Ecuador, without taking into account the social, cultural and economic impact to the Shuar people.

It is incredible for our people that over two billion dollars in investments, nearly ten thousand well paid jobs and important cultural, environmental and social projects have been suspended by the Elected Assembly. It is terrible that the National Assembly attacks our jobs and takes them away from us without considering the suffering of our people caused by the price rises in bread, milk, flour, rice and other basic goods in our region.

Our people believes that the National Assembly, by approving the Mining Mandate, has ignored our indigenous rights as direct beneficiaries of these mining projects and above all our right to work, to maintain our families united and a better standard of living as an indigenous people.

Mr. Acosta, please take into account that the Shuar Federation of Zamora Chinchipe fully supports the government of our President Rafael Correa and his vision of responsible mining as a tool for the development and prosperity of the Ecuadorian people. We would also like to inform you that the Shuar people of our region fully support responsible mining and the employment that this mining investment brings to our region.

Finally, we ask for the immediate retraction of the Mining Mandate, and also that the Constitutional Assembly quickly brings to justice those small groups that wish to stop responsible development and to those who continue taking advantage of the crime that is indigenous poverty.

Yours sincerely,

(SIGNATURE)

Rubén Naichap

President

Shuar Federation of Zamora Chinchipe

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* otto.rock1 (AT) gmail (DOT) com