History, Current Situation and Challenges of Gold Mining in Ecuador's Litoral Region

Carlos Mestanza-Ramón, Selene Paz-Mena, Carlos López-Paredes, Mirian Jimenez-Gutierrez, Greys Herrera-Morales, Giovanni D'Orio, Salvatore Straface
2021 Land  
Gold mining in Ecuador has been present in the country since Inca times; over the years interest in the mineral has increased, leading to the creation of legislation to control the mining sector in a safe manner. The Litoral region consists of seven provinces, six of which have registered gold concessions; the most affected provinces are El Oro and Esmeraldas. The objective of this study was to analyze the historical and current situation of artisanal and industrial gold mining in the Litoral
more » ... gion of Ecuador. Different methodologies were used for the elaboration of this study, including bibliographic review, grey literature, field interviews and a validation of expert judgment. The main results indicate that El Oro and Esmeraldas are essentially the most conflictive areas in the region, as they have sometimes had to establish precautionary measures due to the risks caused by illegal mining. In addition, in both areas there is a great socioeconomic impact ranging from lack of opportunities, forgetfulness, migration, emigration, and violation of rights, among others. With respect to environmental impacts, the study highlights the contamination of water sources (which leads to a lack of drinking water for people), and damage to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Finally, the study concludes that the authorities should control the mining sector more by implementing more laws and carrying out inspections to put an end to illegal gold mining, in order to improve the situation in the areas.
doi:10.3390/land10111220 fatcat:oc3ym77w3jb63ahg46anacpvuu