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Jimbitono against mining and hydropower projects, Ecuador


Hidroabanico is a mini-hydropower plant located in Jimbitono, a small village near the city of Macas. The project was designed to encompass two stages. The former (2004-2006) was intended to generate 15MW of clean energy and the latter (2007-2008) would expand its power capacity to 37.5 MW. The first stage was carried out without local resistance. Yet, in 2006 amidst a context of social unrest and of growing social organizing process against mining operations in the area, Jimbitono inhabitants started a process of mobilization and resistance against Hidroabanicos second stage. Among the reasons to explain this process of collective action was the fact that in March of that year, the mining company Corriente Resources made public a Letter of Intent with this hydropower company to supply power to its mining project (Mirador). As a result, a 75 days-strike began in Jimbitono in opposition to both the mining and hydroelectric projects. Finally, in November 2006 local government representatives committed themselves, among other measures, to suspend the second stage definitively. From this date on, the political context changed resulting in a more determined promotion of mining activities in the area. Hidroabanico has completed its second stage and is currently producing energy.

Basic Data

NameJimbitono against mining and hydropower projects, Ecuador
ProvinceMorona Santiago
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Specific Commodities

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsIt is a run-of-the river hydropower plant that generates 37.5 MW of energy.

In September 2004 the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) granted it a US$ 4 million loan for its construction.

In December 2004 the project signed an Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)/ Netherlands Clean with a commitment of 175,388 Tn of C02.

Level of Investment (in USD)33500000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesHidroabanico S.A from Ecuador
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (now the Ministry of Non-Renewable Natural Resources., Environmental Ministry, Consejo Nacional de Electrificacin-CONELEC, Agencia Agua de Cuenca- Consejo Nacional de Recursos Hdricos , Centro Nacional de Control de Energa-CENACE
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
CorporaciĆ³n Interamericana para el Financiamiento de la Infraestructura (CIFI)
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCoordinadora Nacional por la Defensa de la Vida y la Soberana-CNDVS (National Coordinating Committee for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty).

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The hydropower plant was not itself the cause of this conflict. Local inhabitants opposed the possibility to allocate the hydro-energy produced to the mining activity, mainly the ECSAs Mirador project. Currently both the hydropower plant and the Mirador project are in operation.

Sources and Materials


Mining Law


Chicaiza, Gloria. 2010. El enclave minero de la Cordillera del Cndor. Accin Ecolgica, Ecuador.

Latorre, Sara. 2009. El ecologismo popular. Pasado y Presente. IEE-FLACSO.


Meta Information

ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014