Neighbors voice concern about reactivating gold mine

Neighbors and environmentalists are gearing up for another battle to prevent gold mining in Miramar.

The opponents say that the current owner of the  Bellavista Mine, B2 Gold, has brought an action against the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía in the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo to overturn a 2011 decision to keep the mine closed.

The  Bellavista had entered into preliminary production in 2007 when the heavy rains weakened the hillside on which much of the processing equipment was located. The ore leaching system slid downhill and almost into a nearby waterway. Neighbors feared that the chemicals would pollute the environment.

The mine never generated the heated opposition that operators of the Las Crucitas open pit mine faced, probably because it already was in production when opposition to this type of mining organized.

Neighbors said in an email release that there have been explosions heard at the mine and that they think that workers are exploring other deposits of gold-bearing rock.

The Laura Chinchilla administration has come out strongly against commercial gold mining. And lawmakers have passed a bill that prohibits all but small operators from mining and none with the open pit process.

The Bellavista received its approvals before that bill passed, so the legal situation is not clear cut.

The operators of the Las Crucitas mine are preparing a billion dollar arbitration actions against the government in an agency of the World Bank. B2 Gold has not taken any action in this direction, but in order to do so the firm would have to exhaust its recourse in Costa Rica.

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