New scandal clouds anticipated decision in Crucitas case

The proposal for an open pit gold mine in northern Costa Rica has taken a scandalous turn.

The Poder Judicial has confirmed that an investigation has been launched because someone appears to have leaked a draft of a decision in the case by the Sala Primera high court.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo has annulled the agreement under which Industrias Infinito S.A. was to mine nearly a million ounces of gold. The project has been controversial since it was announced because of environmental concerns and, in part, because the parent company of the local firm is Canadian.

The essence of the draft was not made public, but prosecutors are investigating. Only a limited number of persons in the Corte Suprema de Justicia had access to the document.
This is the Crucitas mine case that was supported strongly by former president Óscar Arias Sánchez. The project ran into problems because in order to dig for the gold some protected trees will have to be felled.

The case already has been before the Sala IV, which basically gave the project the go ahead.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo then faulted the process by which the government issued permits. The Sala Primera is hearing an appeal of that decision.

Infinito said that Crucitas is evironmentally, economically and socially viable for Costa Rica. The firm in a release lamented the fact that the project has been frozen for three years. The company noted that the formal complaint was filed by Anabelle León, president of Sala Primera.

The company said its parent firm was evaluating the impact of yet another delay and said that the firm was gathering information for a possible international arbitration.

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