Ecuador's desire to become a global exporter of copper coincides with increased Chinese demand for and investment in copper mining. Both copper mines in Ecuador are owned by the same Chinese company. The inauguration of mine construction and activity has led to negative environmental damage and forced relocations of indigenous communities at both mines.
Despite these similarities, the Mirador mine is operational while the San Carlos-Panantza mine is indefinitely delayed. The only observable difference between the two is that CRCC-Tongguan, the Chinese company involved, has significantly invested in the communities around the Mirador mine. In contrast, community relations at the San Carlos-Panantza mine have been marred by violence.
This article examines one operational and one proposed copper mine in Ecuador. Part two of this series discusses Chinese-financed copper mines in Peru.