The firm that seeks to operate the Crucitas gold mine in northern Costa Rica says an environmental study is false.
The study was by the Fundación Neotrópica, and it determined that environmental damage at the mine site could be as much as $12 million.
The report was done by a team headed by Bernardo Aguilar, the foundation executive director. The study was requested by the Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones.
The mine operator, Industrias Infinito S.A., said that the foundation included an adjacent lumbering operation in its evaluation. The foundation compared air photos of the site since 2005 because the company would not permit foundation workers to enter the mine project.
Industrias Infinito said in a release Tuesday that the foundation
included an adjacent property in its evaluation, and the property is a lumbering operation. The trees that were cut down are not the responsibility of the mining firm, it said.
Industrias Infinito identified the adjacent property as Compañía Madera del Norte run by Jorge Jiménez Berrocal. The lumbering company is following an approved plan, the mining firm said.
The Crucitas site contains an estimated 800,000 ounces of gold, but Costa Rica has worked for the last two years to cancel the firm’s concession. The company has been the target of several court reverses, and environmentalists have fought the mining project aggressively. Infinito is the subsidiary of a Canadian firm.
If the company is prohibited from mining the gold, Costa Rica faces a long fight in international arbitration. The environmental survey is to gain evidence in anticipation of that battle.