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FIDH et al vs. CRCC-Tongguan Investment (Canada) Co., Ltd.

Case overview

Date filed 25 July 2013
Current status Rejected
Issue HR abuses at Mirador mining project in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Summary of the case The complaint concerns the operations of Ecuacorriente S.A., an Ecuadorian subsidiary of Corriente Resources and CRCC-Tongguan Investment (Canada) Co., Ltd., which holds the first contract with the Ecuadorian government for the Mirador project. Both companies are Canadian subsidiaries of the Chinese conglomerate CRCC-Tongguan, which acquired Corriente Resources and all of its holdings in Ecuador in 2010.

The complaint alleges multiple violations, including a lack of adequate environmental evaluation and numerous human rights abuses such as forced displacement and lack of respect for Indigenous People's rights. Local families, both indigenous and campesino, are allegedly being forcibly displaced to make way for the open-pit copper mine.

The consultation process is alleged to have been marred by a lack of full disclosure and transparency, lack of adequate environmental impact studies, and lack of free, prior and informed consent of or consultation with affected communities.

The company has allegedly fuelled division among the affected communities and is complicit in violent state repression of protests against large-scale mining in the area.

The complainants further contend that the likelihood of acid mine drainage and other environmental impacts of the mine in the highly ecologically sensitive area, coupled with the company's lack of human rights due diligence and implementation of remedial measures, poses a serious threat to the local communities' access to water, land, livelihood, and way of life.

The complainants call on the NCP to ensure that the Guidelines are being implemented by recommending that the company respect the rights of communities and nature, as enshrined in the Ecuadorian Constitution and other national and international instruments, and ultimately desist from further mining activities in Ecuador.
Developments/Outcome The NCP confirmed receipt of the complaint on 25 July 2013 and requested translations of certain documents, which were provided within five weeks.

More than a half year later, on 4 April 2014, the NCP said it had received additional information from the company that caused the prolonged delay in publishing its initial assessment. More than a year after the complaint was filed, the Canadian NCP announced it was rejecting the complaint in July 2014. As ground for its decision the NCP argues that the allegations had not been substantiated, although it never requested clarification or further input regarding any of the allegations at any point during the course of the year from the complainants.

Despite the fact that the Mirador Mine isheld by EcuaCorriente, a company based in Ecuador, and the project managed by CRCC-Tongguan based in China, the NCP nevertheless indicated it would be willing to admit the complaint because the company has a subsidiary in Canada and neither Ecuador nor China are adherents to the OECD Guidelines. The bigger factor leading the NCP deciding to reject the complaint appears to have been the unwillingness of Corriente Resources to engage in mediation as a factor in reaching its decision.

The complainants are disappointed that the NCP has disregarded the comprehensive information provided by them and has not provided a detailed explanation of its decision. The complainants furthermore regret that the NCP has inappropriately conflated the initial assessment phase of the specific instance process with the mediation phase.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Forced evictions and resettlement, Human rights, Environment

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Canada
NCP address
NCP website http://www.ncp-pcn.gc.ca/
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NCP
NGO

Company Information

Company responsible CRCC-Tongguan Investment (Canada) Co., Ltd.
Company address
Company website
Company in violation Ecuacorriente S.A.
Country of operations Ecuador
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
15 October 2014 Mining Watch Canada letter Public response to rejection of the case by MiningWatch Canada.  
24 July 2014 National Contact Point Canada letter Initial assessment of the Canadian NCP. download pdf (172Kb)  
24 July 2014 National Contact Point Canada letter The Canadian NCP does not find the specific instance to merit further examination and rejects the complaint.  
25 July 2013 Residents of the province of Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador file Complaint filed with the Canadian NCP download pdf (473Kb)  
25 July 2013 Residents of the province of Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador Press release issued by the complainants download pdf (77Kb)  

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