SAN JOSE, April 16 The Costa Rican Supreme
Court ruled on Friday that a small Canadian mining company can
proceed with its open-pit gold mine, striking down complaints
from environmental groups that the project was destroying
The ruling reversed an October 2008 order from the high
court to halt construction on the Crucitas mine near the border
with Nicaragua and mine owner Infinito Gold Ltd IG.V claimed
the ruling as a victory.
Environmentalists had complained that the miner was
breaking the law by cutting down trees in forests that are home
to such wildlife as the endangered great green macaw and other
"After reviewing the official studies we did not find that
this mining project will negatively affect the environment. So
the project will go ahead," Vanlly Cantillo, a court
Crucitas will be Costa Rica's first major gold mine with a
capacity to produce 85,000 ounces of gold annually. An
investment of up to $66 million is required to start the mine
with an indicated resource of 1.2 million ounces of gold,
according to the company's website.
Infinito Gold's President John Morgan lauded the court's
decision and said the company was committed to moving forward
with the project.
"Now we must show Costa Rica that Crucitas will be a model
of sustainable mining," Morgan said in a statement.
With approximately half of its surface cloaked in lush
forest, Costa Rica is a world famous eco-travel paradise.
President Oscar Arias reversed a moratorium on open pit
mining after taking office and declared the Crucitas project of
"national interest," angering environmentalists.
His government said in a statement on Friday it would stand
by the court's decision to allow the mine to reopen.
Laura Chinchilla, the country's president-elect who will
take office in May, is a protege of Arias and is expected to
follow closely the policies of his government.
(Reporting by Alex Leff; Editing by Richard Chang)