Ecuador’s oil and
mines minister
Derlis Palacios
 
Quito, Ecuador — MININGREVIEW.COM — 06 March 2009 – The government of Ecuador is to allow Kinross and Corriente to re-start exploration later in March after nearly one year of a freeze in mining operations in the South American country.

Announcing this here, oil and mines minister Derlis Palacios told Reuters that Iamgold and International Minerals Corporation would be allowed to mine again in about 45 days, after governmental studies on their operations located in protected areas had been completed.

Ecuador banned all mining operations last April to halt land speculation and growing environmentalist protests in some mining provinces. “We have no problem that these companies restart activities, now that the new law has been approved,” Palacios said in a phone interview.

In January, Ecuador approved a new mining law that boosted governmental control over an industry that in recent years had attracted dozens of foreign companies exploring for precious metals.

Although an OPEC-member, Ecuador has no large-scale mining, but some companies have found substantial deposits of copper, gold and silver in its southern region. Cash-strapped Ecuador is scrambling for funding to cover a widening fiscal deficit after the world crisis had dragged down crude oil prices.