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Court ruling said that indigenous people in Ecuador have the right to say no to mining projects, which then must be stopped.

Members of the A’i Cofan indigenous tribe managed to block the Amazon mining. The guards patrol the banks of the Aguarico River and confiscate equipment if they find miners. 

According to Reuters, they have the support of the Constitutional Court. Earlier this year, the court ruled that indigenous communities have to give their consent to all major extractive projects happening in their territories. 

"We go down (the river) and document all the people who have entered," guard coordinator Nixon Andy, 24, said. "When we come across strangers on our territory we speak peacefully, but if there isn't respect there are authorities to whom we can report."

The court also reversed previous projects, such as ordering gold concessions on Cofan territory, because the indigenous community wasn’t consulted. 

However, there’s disagreement as to which projects the ruling applies to. The mining industry and authorities claim it only applies to future projects, while the indigenous people say it applies to all. 

The Ecuador government aimed a doubling in mining exports to reach $4 billion in the next three years, and they haven’t given up on their decision. 

While the court’s decision has been a step in the right direction, the struggle is just beginning.

Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic. When not writing, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book or trying out new baking recipes.

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