The Public and State Security Council (Cosepe) of Ecuador This Thursday declared illegal mining a threat to state security and approved a strategy to deal with it that includes greater control over the materials used, sanctions, and operations by the Police and the Armed Forces.
At the same time, the cosepethe highest body that advises the president of Ecuador on security matters, also ratified its support for legally established mining concessions, with the support of law enforcement.
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In a press conference, the National Secretary of Public and State Security, Diego Ordonezexplained that the objective is to stop the expansion that illegal mining has had in recent times, especially in border provinces with Colombia, such as emeralds Y Sucumbíosand with Peru, as Gold, shop, Morona Santiago Y Zamora Chinchipe.
Illegal mining thus falls within the same category of threat to the State that drug trafficking already had, for example, which implies coordinated operations by the Police and the Armed Forces.
Ordóñez explained that this illegal activity “It is growing, it incorporates heavy machinery and the use of unauthorized chemicals such as mercury, with a very high level of contamination; destroys the environment and is part of the (illegal) arms, explosives and money laundering trafficking chain”.
”Illegal mining is part of what we call organized crime, which includes drug trafficking, arms, explosives and people trafficking, and money laundering.”, he indicated.
The secretary explained that the approved strategy will imply a regulatory reorganization to establish state records, controls, and supervision of the activities that serve to carry out illegal mining, such as heavy equipment and the use of minerals, in addition to a sanctions scheme.
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Regarding a possible confrontation with the indigenous guards that protect the territories of indigenous peoples where sources of legal and illegal mining are habitually registered, Ordóñez affirmed that they cannot be above the Police and the Armed Forces.
”It is seditious to think that there can be independent territories with an independent security force.”, he asserted.
The secretary added that state forces are not constitutionally empowered to operate permanently in indigenous territories, but temporarily, and condemned the possibility that indigenous guards go against legal concessions and not against illegal mining.
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