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Hancock Prospecting in Ecuador: Seven Years of Reported Violations

Melbourne Rainforest Action Group 2 mins read

Hancock Prospecting in Ecuador: Seven Years of Reported Violations

 

Research and advocacy organisation, Rainforest Action Group, has just released a new in-depth article covering Hancock Prospecting’s controversial activities in Ecuador since 2017.

 

Hancock Prospecting, through its 100%-owned subsidiary Hanrine, is exploring for copper and gold in eleven mining concessions in northwestern Ecuador.

 

Compiling seven years worth of frontline reporting, the article documents events where Hanrine was directly or indirectly involved with violence, alleged irregularities in dealings with the judicial system, and civil rights violations.

 

“Hanrine’s alleged actions have included blockading access roads to communities, using the state police and military to force its workers and machinery through towns and villages, manipulating the Ecuadorian judiciary, trying to gain access to water sources reserved for agricultural use without following due process, and criminalising people who peacefully protest saying they don’t want mining on their properties,” says Liz Downes, campaigner for Rainforest Action Group.

 

“While many of these actions have been widely reported on Ecuadorian news media and social media, they have been allowed to continue to expand their projects with little oversight and a large degree of impunity. Meanwhile, there is scant recourse for people in Ecuador (or anywhere overseas) to lodge complaints within Australia about impacts or violations caused by Australian mining companies,” says Liz Downes.

 

“Australia is already the world’s biggest metals mining jurisdiction, responsible for the production of around 40% of global metal resources in 2022. As demand for “critical” minerals grows, Australian mining companies are exploring or developing projects across most continents,” says Liz Downes.

 

“This expansion is creating so-called sacrifice zones, where people and environments are plundered to serve corporate profits and geopolitical agendas. While companies are keen to state how clean and green they are on their websites, the reality on the ground is often very different – and it is difficult to challenge the public narrative,” says Liz Downes.

 

In March and April 2024, Hancock Prospecting acquired a further five exploration concessions in Ecuador, in a mega-biodiverse region known for hosting decades of resistance against mining. The company also invested $186 million in a copper exploration project in the south of Ecuador.

 

For Gina Rinehart, majority owner and chairman of Hancock Prospecting, these copper acquisions are part of a recent broader push to invest in battery metals, including lithium and rare earth metals.

 

Contact: Liz Downes on 0415 308 041

 


About us:

The Rainforest Action Group (MRAG) is a grassroots working group affiliated with the Rainforest Information Centre (RIC). It was formed in 2018 as a response to RIC’s call out for support in growing a campaign to save Ecuador’s megadiverse rainforests in the Amazon and Western Andes from swathes of mining concessions.

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