A collection of indigenous movements, environmental and human rights NGOs, and community organizations presented a lawsuit seeking protective action on behalf of nature against the Condor-Mirador Mining Project—Ecuador’s first, large-scale, open-pit mining project, located in a biodiversity hotspot. The protective action presented scientific studies, including those by the mining company Ecuacorriente, showing the open-pit mine would cause the total removal of various ecosystems, including the habitats on which endangered endemic species rely. Such actions would likely cause the extinction of one or more species and thus violate the rights of nature. Other violations relate to the contamination of watershed ecosystems with heavy metals and toxins. The plaintiffs ask for the suspension of the project and a more thorough environmental impact assessment.
The judge ruled the Condor-Mirador project did not violate rights of nature because the mining project would not affect a protected area, although a Ministry of Environment assessment showed it would, and that efforts to protect rights of nature are a private goal while Ecuacorriente was acting in the public interest of development. The judge ruled that the public interest takes precedence over private interest, and the judge denied the protective action. The claimants appealed to the Provincial Court of Pichincha but lost. No further legal action was taken.