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Iamgold and INV Metals in Kimsacocha, Azuay, Ecuador

In March 2019, after many years of struggle, a popular consultation in the Giron district voted with a large majority against mining.


The mining firm COGEMA was the first in carrying out exploration work in the area since 1991. In 1993 the companies Newmont Mining and TVX Gold became COGEMAs joint venture partners and the drilling activities became the responsibility of Newmont. This joint venture consortium lasted few years as the results obtained were not very promising. IAMGOLD acquired the Cerro Casco, Cristal, and Rio Falso concessions from COGEMA in March 1999. These mining deposits overlap with a Protected Forest with important headwaters. Local inhabitants were aware of Newmonts works but it was not until IAMGOLD presence in the area (2003) that local opposition became activated. During the following years local resistance and mobilization grew amidst of community division conflicts among mining opponents and supporters. As it was not the only mining project in the area, local communities extended their alliances both within the province and beyond. Generally speaking, local opposition has been responded by the government with violent repression. Since 2008 onwards the government attitude toward mining activity has became more radical in its promotion. Currently, it is negotiating the terms of the exploitation contract with IAMGOLD. Yet, local opposition has not ceased.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Iamgold and INV Metals in Kimsacocha, Azuay, Ecuador
State or province:Azuay
Location of conflict:The parishes of Victoria del Portete, Tarqui, San Gerardo and Chumbn.
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Silver
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kimmsacocha property consists of four mining concessions (Cerro Casco, Rio Falso, Cristal and San Martin).

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Project area:9500
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectCapital expenditures up to commercial production,
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:12,000
Company names or state enterprises:International African Mining Gold Corporation (IAMGOLD) from Canada - IAMGOLD Ecuador S.A/ is the Ecuadorean subsidiary
INV metals from Canada - after 2012, new junior company
IAMGOLD Ecuador S.A from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment, Secretara Nacional del Agua-SENAGUA , Secretara de Planificacin y Desarrollo-SENPLADES.

Prefecto de Azuay (Yaku Pérez).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Accion ecologica., Coordinadora Nacional por la Defensa de la Vida y la Soberana-CNDVS (National Coordinating Committee for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty)., ECUARUNARI (In Kichwa Ecuador Runakunapak Rikcharimuy, Ecuadorian Indigenous Movement) better known as Confederation of Kichwa Peoples of Ecuador., CONAIE (the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador).
Yasunidxs Guapondélig, Guardianes del Agua.

Federación de Organizaciones Campesinas del Azuay (FOA), Consejo del Buen Gobierno de Molleturo, Sinchi Warmi. Comunidades de Río Blanco, San Pedro de Yumate y Molleturo centro.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Trade unions
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Boycotts of companies-products
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Land demarcation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The conflict was ongoing,mainly by water rights community organizations, but Iamgold in June 2012 sold its rights in the project. Resistance has been strong, community consultations in Victoria del Portete and Tarqui in 2011 showed large majorities against mining. Finally in 2019, there was a popular consultation in the Giron canton. "El resultado del referendo, que es vinculante, afectaría las actividades de INV Metals Inc, que tiene en esa área la concesión del proyecto Loma Larga, del que se espera extraer 2,6 millones de onzas de oro durante los 12 años de vida útil de la mina, además de 13,3 millones de onzas de plata y 88 millones de libras de cobre." (El Comercio.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Mining Law

Mining mandate

Ecuadorian Constitution

The Code of territorial Organization

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

IAMGOLD web page: (last accessed May 7, 2012)
[click to view]

Latorre, Sara. 2009. El ecologismo popular. Pasado y Presente. IEE-FLACSO.

Hernan Quizhpe, tesis de maestría, Flacso, Quito 2019. La commoditización de las subjetividades: la minería en la provincia del Azuay, Ecuador y los casos de los proyectos Río Blanco y Loma Larga

IAMGOLD CORP. Press release N31/08. In: (last access: May 7, 2012).
[click to view]

Sacher, William and Alberto Acosta. 2012. La mineria a gran escala en el Ecuador. Analisis y datos estadisticos sobre la minera industrial en el Ecuado. Abya-Yala-Universidad Politecnica Salesiana. 2012.

[click to view]

[click to view]

El Universo, 26 marzo 2019. El no gana en la consulta popular en Girón, Azuay.
[click to view]

El Comercio. 26 de marzo de 2019. El no se impuso con el 86, 79% en la consulta popular minera del cantón Girón, en Azuay
[click to view]

Other comments:Las mujeres estamos en resistencia, nos hemos unido porque nosotras somos las más afectadas, como madres y mujeres tenemos que dar buena alimentación, una buena agua a nuestra familia, porque si estaría el agua contaminada no habría para sobrevivir, no queremos aguas contaminadas.  Las mujeres estamos defendiendo el agua, el aire la tierra, porque somos los 4 elementos de la naturaleza, si nos faltaría el agua estaríamos agonizando, si nos faltaría la tierra como vamos a vivir de que alimento nos vamos a servir, si nos falta el aire no duramos ni 3 minutos, el agua tiene espíritu el agua es vida.” Gloria Velez Azuay, comunidad de la Victoria
Meta information
Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update28/01/2020
Conflict ID:865
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