Ecuador’s mining sector accounted for 1.5% of total GDP in 2019, generating $1.1 billion in revenues for the country. There are currently 420 active mining concessions in the country, with gold being the most crucial resource. In 2020, 420,000 ounces of gold were mined. Ecuador also mines copper, silver, and zinc. In order to promote responsible mining practices and protect the environment, Ecuador established the National Mining Agency.
Ecuador mining jobs amounted to 30,000 people being directly and indirectly employed in the sector in 2020. Foreign investment in Ecuador’s mining sector has shown healthy growth in recent years, in 2020, $709 million worth of foreign finds were invested in the mining sector, creating mining jobs and revitalising Ecuador’s mining recruitment industry.
Ecuador is home to section of the Amazon rainforest which heightens the need for sustainable and responsible environmental stewardship. Mining companies are required to prepare environmental impacts assessments and obtain the consent of local communities before mining activities commence. Unemployment in Ecuador is low, in 2019 the figure was 5,3%. However, since then, Covid has had a significant impact and unemployment has risen significantly since then.
Ecuador mining recruitment indicates the most in demand skills are engineering, geology, and environmental management. A 2020 survey indicated that 72% of companies in Ecuador allow remote work. Gender diversity in Ecuador is improving but there is still a significant gender gap. Women in Ecuador earn on average 17% less than men for the same job and are underrepresented in higher-paying executive level jobs, especially in the mining industry.
Mining in Ecuador has historically been small-scale and artisanal. Most processes have therefore been unautomated and labour intensive. As large-scale foreign investment impacts the mining sector, a shift towards new technology and automation has occurred. This has created the opportunity for local communities to engage in training and development as the mines try to hire and retain local employees. The new influx of investment has improved the working conditions of miners as global standards are implemented and safety measures are put in place. There have also been improvements in low production performance and environmental protection standards resulting in less pollution of local water sources.