Iamgold in Quimsacocha, Ecuador


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

Basic Data
NameIamgold in Quimsacocha, Ecuador
SiteThe 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 CommoditiesSilver
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Quimsacocha property consists of four mining concessions (Cerro Casco, Rio Falso, Cristal and San Martin).

Probable minerals reserves of: Ore 1,68Moz or 52,25 t; Silver 29.55 t; Cu 0.0034 MT Underground mining methods.

Projected mine life of 7.5 years and the current deposit would produce an average of 202 000 ounces of gold per year at an average cash cost of US$272 per ounce (no royalties or profit sharing included).
Project Area (in hectares)9500
Level of Investment (in USD)Capital expenditures up to commercial production,
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2004
Company Names or State EnterprisesInternational 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 actorsMinistry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Environment, Secretara Nacional del Agua-SENAGUA , Secretara de Planificacin y Desarrollo-SENPLADES
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAccion 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)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement 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
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
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-economic 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)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The conflict is 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.
Sources and Materials

Mining Law

Mining mandate

Ecuadorian Constitution

The Code of territorial Organization


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

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

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

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.


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Other CommentsLas 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
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update07/03/2017