The Esperanza mining camp at Corriente Resources Inc.'s Panantza - San Carlos copper mining complex in Ecuador was set on fire and vandalized, Mining.com reported March 29, citing a statement from Ecuador's Ministry of Energy and Natural Non-Renewable Resources.
Corriente Resources is a 50/50 joint venture owned by Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Co. Ltd. and China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd.
An armed group took over the Esperanza camp March 28 and threw dynamite and burned facilities and equipment, Reuters reported, citing a statement Corriente Resources subsidiary and project operator Explorcobres SA published on Twitter.
Security guards were the only people at the camp at the time of the attack as the mine has been suspended since 2016 due to social conflicts, according to the statement.
"We reject these acts of vandalism and the destruction of the property that belongs to the San Carlos Panantza mining project," the ministry said in the statement. "We also reject the fact that the decree of state of emergency was violated."
Ecuador recently declared a state of emergency to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, with measures including a mandatory curfew from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m.