Ecuador to prioritize sustainable mining in new areas -minister

TORONTO, June 14 (Reuters) - Ecuador will prioritize companies with a good track record of working with local communities and possessing drilling technologies promoting sustainable mining when issuing new mining licenses, Energy Minister Xavier Vera said.

President Guillermo Lasso has vowed to develop the mining sector as part of the country's post-pandemic economic recovery, including announcing new areas available for development by private companies by the end of 2022.

Lasso's plans are facing stiff resistance, especially from indigenous communities, who on Monday began what they said will be an indefinite protest against Lasso's economic policies. read more

Vera told Reuters on the sidelines of the Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) convention in Toronto late on Monday that new mines being potentially by public or private operators will be open to large corporations to small miners, so long as they meet regulatory requirements.

Companies which do very good technical work but do not consult with local communities will fail, Vera said. "We don't want that," he said.

Vera said he is confident any new concessions will reward investors who follow the rule of law and operate with the support of local communities.

Ecuador is also preparing to increase production of petroleum from 500,000 barrels per day to 550,000 barrels per day by end of 2022, Vera said.

The country has recently made spot sales to Chinese refineries.

Reporting by Divya Rajagopal; Editing by Richard Chang

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Divya Rajagopal reports on Canada mining sector, where she covers breaking news on critical minerals deals, takeovers and mergers in the mining sector and how miners deal with climate change and ESG imperatives. Divya previously worked as a financial journalist with Economic Times and CNBC TV18 based out of India. She holds a Masters in Global Affairs from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Technology and Social Change from Lund University, Sweden.