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Ecuador energy minister nominee withdraws after leaving miner's board

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QUITO – Newly-installed Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso’s pick to be the oil-producing country’s next energy and mines minister withdrew from consideration on Friday, a week after resigning from the board of directors of a mining company.

Roberto Salas had served as vice president of private agroindustrial and real estate conglomerate Nobis Group before Lasso, a conservative, nominated him for the role shortly before taking office on May 24.

Salas had served on the board of Toronto-based Adventus Mining Corp, in which Nobis is a shareholder. Adventus, which is seeking to develop the El Domo – Curipamba copper and gold mine in the South American country, said in a May 25 statement that Salas resigned from its board on May 21.

“It is essential to be rigorous in the strict compliance with the legal requirements necessary to assume a public role,” Salas wrote in a LinkedIn post on Friday. “The time necessary to adequately resolve my private affairs would delay my incorporation to the government more than is prudent.”

Lasso’s government did not immediately comment on Salas’ withdrawal or indicate who it would nominate as a replacement.

Ecuador’s energy ministry oversees its oil, mining and electricity sectors. The country produces around 500,000 barrels per day of crude, the lifeblood of its economy, and Lasso has pledged to double that level in his four-year term.

The government has also in recent years sought to attract international mining investment to help diversify the economy amid a liquidity crisis that prompted Ecuador to turn to the International Monetary Fund.

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