Planning for the first public action to cleanup under 2015 indigenous federation-government treaty that E-Tech helped negotiate and now implement. 

 E-Tech signs agreement to work towards public access laboratory

E-Tech signs agreement to work towards public access laboratory

On October 23, 2016, E-Tech director Dick Kamp (left in photo) signed an agreement in Iquitos, Loreto, Peru with Rector Heiter Valderrama Freyre of the Universidad de Amazonia Peruana (UNAP) that commits the two institutions to cooperate in attempting to develop a certified laboratory that can provide environmental analysis to indigenous communities in the region facing crude oil contamination as well as a curriculum to help strengthen the capacity of the communities to remediate oil pollution. 

 Oct- Nov 2016: Workshops  with Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Morona Santiago

Oct- Nov 2016: Workshops with Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Morona Santiago

On October 27, 2016, Ricardo Segovia and Lupita de Heredia traveled to Macas, Morona Santiago to provide technical expertise for the prefecture's workshop on large-scale mining impacts.  Several days later, petroleum engineering students at the Escuela Politecnica Nacional in Iquitos enthusiastically welcomed the E-Tech'profs' (Ricardo Segovia, Ann Maest, Diana Papoulias and Lupita de Heredia).

Etech analyzes Peruvian Government Sabotage Accusations

Loreto, Peru/oil pollution remediation: In October 2016 E-Tech issued the following Spanish Language report at the request of indigenous federations in Loreto.    Read more  here

Imagen 7: Ducto Norperuano sumergido y sin soportes en Cuninico. Fuente: R. Segovia

Imagen 7: Ducto Norperuano sumergido y sin soportes en Cuninico. Fuente: R. Segovia

Loreto Monitoring 2016

Loreto Monitoring 2016

Loreto, Peru/oil pollution remediation: In October 2016 E-Tech issued the following Spanish Language report at the request of indigenous federations in Loreto.   Go to Loreto Monitoring 2016 project to read more and download documents.

E-Tech field coordinatorRicardo Segovia takes a GPS reading for an augur sample

E-Tech field coordinatorRicardo Segovia takes a GPS reading for an augur sample

E-Tech Holiday Newsletter  available for download

E-Tech Holiday Newsletter available for download

 2015 for E-Tech was a year where a number of our interventions “came unstuck”, sometimes after over a decade. Various commitments to work in Ecuador, Peru, and newly-oldly in Mexico became defined, through hard work on behalf of those affected by large scale extractive industry environmental impacts.

News From Ecuador

 E-Tech’s work on large-scale mining in Ecuador has long been a difficult task since we received the 2010 request from the elected Prefect Salvador Quishpe of Zamora Chinchipe to address the environmental impacts of the development of the Ecuacorriente Copper mine in 2010.   The chief difficulties have been that politically this open pit copper mine—once Canadian but by then Chinese—is a “strategic” priority of the Correa administration.   Located in an incredibly diverse and Shuar-indigenous people dominated region of southern Ecuador in the Cordillera del Condor, the mine has been divisive and potentially environmentally devastating on many levels.   A tailings repository is under construction identical to the one that broke and released  millions of cubic liters of tailings below the British Columbia Polley Mine, with a dangerous potential not unlike the BHP-Vale mine in Minas Gerais, Brasil that killed between 11-23 people  this month.  There is also a high probability of acid drainage, earthquake potential (we experienced a moderate one in Loja) and inadequate closure plan and bond accompanied the permitting of the mine by the Ministry of Environment or MAE in 2012.

E-Tech provided intensive consulting on the environmental impact analysis and permitting at the request of MAE but the mine was approved as applied for and has been under development in the years since—though it is not operating.  In 2015 they applied to MAE to evaluate an EIA to double their production to 60 000 tons per day of concentrate.

Last year E-Tech made a commitment to make new partners with academia and the professional community of Ecuador for several reasons.   One it provides us a legal basis to continue our work in Ecuador, two it can provide a stable source of co-investigators and potentially long-term students who we can assist in training, three we can intensify and more publicly disseminate our work on extractive industries.

On November 16 and 18 we presented models and video images on the potential impacts of the Mirador Mine at seminars on extractive industry strategies to address disaster risks that we co-sponsored  in Loja in the Cordillera del Condor and in Quito with state-run EPN, E-Tech, and the Universidad Tecnico Particular de Loja (UTPL—a private Catholic university with campuses around Ecuador).    We had set out to publicize the models showing the high potential of spills from the Mirador tailings traveling rapidly at least as far as the Rio Santiago that enters the main tributary to the Amazon, the Rio Maranon in Peru and to the degree possible to establish formal relationships with these academic collaborators.  E-Tech disseminated the information before 400 plus people and on the 18th at a Quito ceremony E-Tech signed an agreement to cooperate with geologists, mining and oil engineers at EPN.  We are working with UTPL on terms of a second agreement and will also be collaborating with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito on oil pollution and drinking water monitoring programs and exploring a possible collaboration with a fourth university.

How effective could these collaborations be?    E-Tech achieved broad national press coverage over the earlier Mirador phase--which did not change the actual permitting of the mine--and we will ensure that the news of our recent tailings impacts is disseminated.    By working transparently and bluntly and with a high degree of credibility and welcoming industry technical support we may slowly be able to shift the focus from permitting of inadequate facilities by untrained regulators to best practices within mining, even with the caveat that best practices are not always enough.   And conceivably influence the young engineers who we expect to do a fair amount of technical legwork with us at EPN.   And perhaps pick up an E-Techtechnical team, should funding be available, that can first work with and perhaps for E-Tech.  Or we all develop a creative model to work at a credible transparent level that we work.   This isnew for all of us and we have dedicated realistic professional partners in Ecuador for the first time.  We have proposed the question among these partners:  can we prevent environmental disasters by joining forces?   And the answer is simply that we are committed to trying.

Finally, copper prices are low, there is no production yet although there will be, there is a new EIA submitted and legal requirements to adequately regulate the mine through the EIA even if the government has historically not been very responsive to these concerns.  We also feel that it would be politically useful for the government to receive alternatives to the present technically weak regulation if they enter into a contract with EPN, E-Tech and others as public dissension over Mirador and large-scale mining (and many other issues) grows.   Stay tuned as we try and ramp up the work we do on extractive industries in Ecuador.

Nov 16, 2015 Chinese Ecuacorriente Mirador Mine in the Cordillera del Condor of Ecuador.

On November 16 and 18, 2015, E-Tech International presented technical models of the impacts of a tailings dam failure downstream of the Chinese Ecuacorriente Mirador Mine in the Cordillera del Condor of Ecuador.  A tailings failure would impact the Rio Santiago that enters Peru and subsequently the Maranon River, main tributary in the region to the Amazon.    The studies by Dr. Steven Emerman were a component of seminars at the Universidad Tecnica de Loja in the Cordillera del Condor as well as the Escuela Politecnica Nacional in Quito.    Recent tailings and other mine waste failures at the Polley Mine in British Columbia, Cananea Sonora, Silverton Colorado and Mina Gerais, Brasil have made such models as instruments to prevent disaster very important.

For documentation go to the Ecuador page.

Cananea, Sonora, Mexico

The E-Tech/Proyecto Fronteriza de Educacion Ambiental proposal to develop a combined long-term transparent independent environmental monitoring project downstream of the Cananea Sonora mine along with a council that can make agreements on environmental protection in the region is moving forward.    The areas of concern would be the entire Rio Sonora which was impacted by 60 million liters of acid and metals from the Cananea mine in 2014, a small section of the San Pedro River near the mine, and the Cananea mine itself.   In October, 2015, regional mayors from Cananea through Ures and the Governor's Commissioner for Ecology committed their support to the project.  Grupo Mexico, owners of the mine, have expressed their support in principal of the idea.  An English translation of the proposal, updated to include input from Sonoran stakeholders, will be posted on this site during November.  

Final Propuesta de programa de monitoreo ambiental rio sonora etechpfea Octubre 5 2015.pdf

PERU Loreto- New report released July 2015 by E-tech

Las Mejores Prácticas para la Caracterización, Remediación, y Monitoreo Ambiental de la Contaminación Petrolera en Las Áreas Naturales Protegidas de Loreto (Julio 2015) [or Best Practices for the Characterization, Remediation, and Environmental Monitoring of Petroleum Contamination in Protected Areas of Loreto, Peru] 

July 2015: This document was prepared by E-Tech staff in cooperation with Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), Iquitos, Peru using funds from the Moore Foundation. The objective of the report is to provide guidance on the best generally-accepted practices to employ when remediating petroleum industry-impacted sites on lands that have been designated as protected for their biological and ecological importance. The 55-page report briefly describes the specific remediation considerations that a protected area warrants before detailing the various phases of problem characterization, planning, and remediation. The case of an oil spill in Reserva Pacaya Samiria and the appalling failure to remediate is used as an example throughout the report. To Peru’s credit, many of the laws and regulations are in place to support and guide quality remediation activities by government agencies. However, enforcement is historically lacking. Emphasis is placed on involving the communities within and adjacent to the protected areas in monitoring the remediation activities and effects during and after remediation. The protected areas often provide important ecological services to the community members, and it is in their interest to assure clean-up is effective. In addition to the report, the reader will find five Appendices that give specific and detailed information on Peruvian standards for hydrocarbon-related contaminants, relevant laws and guidelines, and additional information on remediation techniques for soil and water.

At this time it is available in Spanish:

July 2015 Report Loreto Peru En Espanol

Cananea Mine Rio Sonora Spill Aftermath

Cananea Mine Rio Sonora Spill Aftermath


This trip report presents our interpretation of several meetings with E-Tech, Bill Steen of the Canela Project, and Sonoran community members regarding technical investigations of and reactions to the pregnant leach solution spill from Grupo México (GRUPO MÉXICO)’s Cananea Buenavista Mine on August 6-8, 2014. The spill sent highly acidic, metal-rich mine waters into the Rio Bacanuchi and the Rio Sonora. Reports  can be read and downloaded from our News Page


"This grant (and those grants that preceded it) are examples of innovation, which the Foundation has charted for increased priority.Your ability to bring technical knowledge to these conflicts and leave behind a trained cadre of local interested parties to carry on the close monitoring offers a means for the Foundation to have both immediate and longer-lasting impact on the policies and practices of nonrenewable resource extraction. It is not designed to stop development, but to bring about a broader understanding of the trade-offs and the means of mitigating mining and hydrocarbon extraction. You won't get a moratorium on this kind of extractive industry, but that is not the aim. Rather this is seen as a valuable step towards empowering local communities who have the most to lose from such activities when they are marginalized or ignored. Hopefully this work will have tangible impacts that far out live our grant and your technical assistance provision."  -Steve Cornelius  August, 2014

Notes From The Maranon, Loreto, Peru - Ricardo Segovia

We didn’t expect to be travelling this far up the Marañon River. The original plan was to enter the Pacaya Samiria reserve for an evaluation of oil spills on a very limited budget. The budget had to be stretched even further when at least two-thousand barrels of oil burst from the Ducto Norperuano in June of 2014 and the president of the indigenous Cocama federation asked us to make an emergency visit to the site.   

Listen to podcast of interview with E-tech Director Dick Kamp

Join Dick Kamp, Director of E-Tech International and Mary Charlotte Domandi of KSFR-FM Santa Fe  in a lively discussion of E-Tech's groundbreaking work in bringing scientific environmental analysis and training to struggling indigenous communities in South America facing large-scale mining, oil-development and pollution.  

David Hill of the Guardian interviews E-Tech Chief Engineer Bill Powers



Read the Guardian interview by David Hill of E-Tech Chief Engineer Bill Powers, at a June oil industry conference, concerning oil company road building in the supposedly roadless and protected Yasuni-ITT region of Ecuador.   There are very intense efforts to halt all oil exploitation in the region but the Ecuadoran government has at a minimum promised no roads although it appears corporate plans differ.......please pass this on.  It follows the release of Matt Finer remote sensing photos in recent weeks.

The Gate: Can Indigenous Communities Exercise Free Prior and Informed Consent without Science?

Peter Kostishack is program director for Global Greengrants Fund and a board member for E-Tech and International Funders for Indigenous People (IFIP). On February 25, 2014, Peter opened a funders' briefing in San Francisco co-sponsored by Swift and MacArthur Foundations, IFIP, and Global Greengrants Fund on the use of science in supporting indigenous prior and informed consent with an unusual metaphor.

News From Loreto, Peru

News From Loreto, Peru

We have posted photos from an E-Tech visit to Pluspetrol/Occidental sites along the Maranon River in Block 8 of Loreto, Peru, in September 2013, that was supported by multiple foundations. We have also included links to a report written by E-Tech hydrogeologist Ricardo Segovia about the results of soil monitoring in the area.

"The Real Avatar"

"The Real Avatar"

On March 30, 2012, at the Universidad Catolica in Lima, Peru, E-Tech and the Universidad Catolica Centro Cultural presented a Spanish-language translation of "The Real Avatar."