Arias, employers question court ruling in gold mine

Both Óscar Arias Sánchez, the former president, and the chamber of employers criticized the decision by a lower court to order a concession for Industrias Infinito S.A. to be canceled.

Arias made his comments in a speech. The Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado issued a statement Friday.

Arias said that the development depends on the amount of investment, both public and private. He used Chile as an example. “Costa Rica for many years has been following the steps of Chile in creating clear rules that attract such investments,” he said.

The employer’s group cited what it said was judicial insecurity in which the elimination of the concession from a legally constituted company is a bad sign for investors, both foreign and national.

Today more than ever the county is being tested by the confusion of the roles of the various powers of the state, the chamber said.

The major concern of some business people is that the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo interjected itself into a legal case that already had been decided by the Sala IV constitutional court.

Among other stipulations, the court said that Arias, himself, should be investigated because he issued a decree advancing the work of Infinito in clearing protected trees from the open pit mine site, which is estimated to contain some $1.2 billion in gold. The site is near Curtris de San Carlos, not far from the Río San Juan.

The case has become a rallying point for university students and environmental activists who generally ignore the fact that Infinito’s parent firm, Infinito Gold Ltd, of Calgary, Canada, is likely to win a gigantic international arbitration settlement if it is prevented from developing the project. Casa Presidencial estimates that the country may be on the hook for as much as $700 million.

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