The inclusion of a question relating to the extractives industry in a national referendum last year suggested the government of President Lenin Moreno was keen to listen to public views on the sector and balance the demands of mining firms and anti-mining activists. However, recent events suggest the state is backing the former as it seeks to attract foreign direct investment and generate fresh revenues. This will bring the government into conflict with indigenous movements, water committees and environmental activists, and create tensions between the central and local governments.
- Mining investment and exports would ease pressure on the balance of payments and reduce the chance of restrictions being placed on imports.
- The government’s pressuring of the Constitutional Court to block popular consultations on mining projects will undermine its credibility.
- Mining will be a key issue in the 2021 presidential election; the indigenous Pachakutik party will benefit from anti-mining sentiment.