Author: Mario Rodas
Coordinator of Ecuador's National Program for the Environmental Sound Management and Live Cycle Management of Chemical Substances, a planetGOLD Partner Project
With the aim of promoting safe, clean and profitable small-scale gold mining in the Andes region, the project teams working on planetGOLD in Peru and Colombia traveled to Ecuador last month to meet with partners working there, to plan joint activities and share good practices.
Over three days, the Ecuador team shared about the progress they have made and the efficient alliances they have formed with the country’s Central Bank to promote financial opportunities that take into account the unique dynamics of the small-scale mining business. Ecuador´s proposal consists of generating credits to improve the gold recovery process, but also to motivate that the miners who access the credit would become providers for the Central Bank.
In order to better understand the reality of Ecuador, the teams from Colombia and Peru, together with Ecuador´s staff Project, visited Camilo Ponce Enríquez. This is a place where the main economic activity is mining performed by men and women. Here the teams chatted with the female mineral selectors, known as “Jancheras.”
These women detailed all the steps they must carry out to recover the gold and allowed the teams to visit processing plants known locally as "chanchas." After this experience, the teams exchanged ideas to improve the working and processing conditions carried out by Jancheras.
The group also discussed institutional management tools that have had good results in both Colombia and Peru, such as the formalization tools for this sector and it was decided to prioritize regional strategies that make visible the role of women linked to mining.
The experience was enriching because it showed that results can be enhanced if actions are applied jointly, since the challenges faced by the three countries are similar. Generating alliances at the technical level allows processes to be facilitated, but above all, experiences are shared that enrich each of the projects.