MAC: Mines and Communities

Costa Rica's elected president bans new gold mines

Published by MAC on 2010-05-20
Source: Reuters, Tico Times

On April 2008, the Costa Rica government signed a decree to permit the granting of new open-pit gold mining projects in the country lifting a moratorium under effect since 2002. See:

Moments after assuming the presidency of Costa Rica last weekend, Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica's first female president) signed an executive decree that places a moratorium on open-pit gold mining in the country. The decree repeals the 2008 executive order issued by her predecessor, Oscar Arias (Nobel Peace Prize winner and president of Costa Rica for two terms: 1990-1994 and 2006-2010).

The decree will not effect the country's biggest and most controversial gold mining project, which already obtained a permit from the government but remains stalled while a court reviews opponents' complaints.



Costa Rica's Chinchilla sworn, bans new gold mines

Leslie Josephs


9 May 2010

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica - Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla signed a decree banning new gold mining projects just hours after taking office on Saturday, her spokesman said.

The decree will not effect the country's biggest gold mining project, known as Crucitas, because that mine has already obtained a permit from the government, presidential spokesman Carlos Roverssi told Reuters.

Chinchilla, Costa Rica's first female president, was elected in February on promises to boost the economy and court investment, but she is also under pressure from environmentalists to clamp down on mining.

Costa Rica has few mineral resources and its economy depends heavily on money from foreign tourists drawn to the Central American country's lush jungles and pristine beaches. "(Gold mining) is not profitable enough to sacrifice the environmental aspect," Roverssi said.

Metallic mining contributes less than 1 percent to Costa Rica's gross domestic product.

Construction at Crucitas, owned by Canada's Infinito Gold Ltd, remains stalled while a court reviews environmentalists' complaints it would threaten virgin forests and animals like the endangered great green macaw.

Crucitas, with an initial investment of $66 million, holds about 1.2 million ounces of gold, according to the company.

(Editing by Todd Eastham)

Chinchilla issues decrees her first day on the job

Mike McDonald

Tico Times

8 May 2010

Moments after assuming the presidency of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla signed an executive decree that places a moratorium on open-pit gold mining in the country.

The decree suspends "indefinitely" the "exploration, extraction and processing of the materials extracted through the use of cyanide and mercury."

The new decree also repeals an executive order issued on March 18, 2008, by her predecessor, Oscar Arias, that established an "environmental safeguard" for mining in the country and laid out the basic environmental ground rules for the activity in Costa Rica.

Mining has been a cause for concern over the years, particularly after Arias gave the go-ahead to the Crucitas open-pit gold mine near the Nicaraguan border. The project is tied up in court after a number of complaints and suits by environmentalists. Chinchilla has said she will back whatever ruling the courts make regarding the Crucitas project.

Chinchilla promised to declare the moratorium during a press conference in April.

On Saturday, Chinchilla also signed into law the creation of a national anti-drug commission. According to the decree, the commission will be in charge of combating drug trafficking and reducing the consumption of illegal substances in Costa Rica.

During her first 100 days in office Chinchilla will conduct a public inquiry in hopes of helping administration officials develop integral security policies.

Chinchilla also established a national care and infant development network via decree on Saturday. The network will be coordinated by the Social Welfare Ministry and is designed to increase day care coverage and elderly assistance throughout the country.

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