The Ministry of Environment and Water has confirmed contamination of water sources by mining in San Lorenzo

November 20, 2020 9:30 p.m.


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By a statement made public on the night of November 20, 2020, the Ministry of Environment and Water (MAAE) verified that illegal mining activity in the township of San Lorenzo had resulted in the contamination of water sources and the felling of primary forest. In this region, on November 18, a landslide occurred in an illegal mine which resulted in the deaths of at least five people.

According to the MAAE, “it was determined that there was illegal mining activity on two fronts, the use of mercury for smelting gold, and therefore the contamination of water sources.” Likewise, the inspection verified the felling of at least 15 hectares of primary forest, affecting species such as pialde, pacora, mascarey, coco, pichango, arabisco and sande.

The MAEE indicated that other operations will be carried out in the sector to know the real and detailed impact on the ecosystems of this activity.

A 2015 study by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador – Sede Esmeraldas, determined that the Cachaví River in the township of San Lorenzo exceeded the established standard for aluminum and iron concentrations by 20 times.

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