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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

Name of conflict:Jimbitono against mining and hydropower projects, Ecuador
State or province:Morona Santiago
Location of conflict:Macas
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:Copper


Project Details and Actors

Project details

It 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:33500000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Hidroabanico S.A from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:The 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 Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de la Infraestructura (CIFI)
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coordinadora Nacional por la Defensa de la Vida y la Soberana-CNDVS (National Coordinating Committee for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty).

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches

Impacts of the project

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-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mining Law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Meta information

Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014