Gold mining firm appeals negative court ruling

On the last possible day, Industrias Infinito S.A. filed an appeal of a Nov. 14 court ruling that closed down the company’s operations at Curtis de San Carlos.

This is the Crucitaspen pit gold mine that was the subject of a Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo that said there were irregularities in the approval process and environmental damage. Environmental advocates praised the decision, but government officials fear a billion dollar arbitration judgment if the company is not allowed to extract the gold.

The government also is appealing the lower court ruling. Even though President Laura Chinchilla said she opposes open pit mining and the process
by which gold is leached from rock, the government has an interest in defending its approval process.

The case is likely to eventually reach the Sala IV constitutional court which already has ruled that Infinito has a valid mining concession.

The appeals panel probably will hear the case within the next couple of months. Infinito has laid off about 150 employees because of the lower court ruling. The environmentalists object to the mining process and also because Infinito would have to cut down trees to mine the gold. The company said it is planting many trees to replace those it has to cut.

In addition the company, a subsidiary of a Canadian firm, is supposed to grade and reforest the area after its concession runs out in 15 years.

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