The mining project Rio Blanco is one of the five so-called mining strategic projects located in the parishes of Molleturo and Chaucha. It consists of a highly fragile ecosystem, high wetlands or Paramos, in the transition zone of Cajas National Park and is an important source of water for agriculture and human consumption within the province as well as for populations living in the southern coast provinces. The project is contracted to the Canadian firm IMC since 1999. Previously, in the mid-1990s, the transnational mining company Rio Tinto had conducted early exploration works. In that time local inhabitants had already stated their opposition to mining activity despite experiencing internal divisions. IMC carried out further exploration works until 2006, the year in which it published its positive feasibility study. From 2006 until 2008 local opposition grew at the same time that a nationwide anti-miming movement was emerging. In 2008 the constitutional mining mandate was issued, that should have meant the revokation of IMCs contract as it overlaps with a protected forest as well as a buffer zone. This however did not happen as president Correa is strongly in favour of mining activities. Currently, the government is negotiating the terms of the contract with IMC amidst ongoing local protest.