Lundin Gold Inc. has entered into partnerships with the Littoral Polytechnic School (ESPOL) in Guayaquil and the National University of Loja (UNL) to develop a range of programs to reinforce responsible mining and address the key challenges facing the local communities surrounding the Fruta del Norte gold project. Through these programs, students, teachers, researchers, local community members and Lundin Gold will work collaboratively on jointly-identified environmental and social initiatives. The partnership with UNL will focus on agricultural projects, while ESPOL and the company will focus on working with artisanal miners, and promoting co-existence with large-scale mining operations.
“These partnerships are an essential aspect of large-scale responsible mining, and we look forward to demonstrating the benefits that these relationships can bring to local communities and the country,” said Lundin Gold Vice President of Business Sustainability Nathan Monash. “Universities are key stakeholders as Ecuador becomes a leading mining jurisdiction. We look forward to working with ESPOL and UNL students and faculty as we implement projects that demonstrate the value that responsible mining can bring to a significant group of stakeholders.”
Lundin Gold management and university officials attended events in Guayaquil and at the UNL’s research station in the parish of Los Encuentros to formalize these partnerships.
Chancellor of ESPOL Cecilia Paredes Verduga spoke about the importance of large-scale mining and the role of academia in opening additional opportunities for Ecuadorians within this industry. “We are celebrating this cooperative partnership and the benefits it will bring our students and faculty,” she said.
During his speech in Loja, UNL Chancellor Nikolay Aguirre said putting this partnership in place creates a new and innovative platform for sharing knowledge in Ecuador, “both of our institutions want to work together to promote long-term sustainable development.”