Infinito reduces its demand to just the $94 million it lost

Infinito Gold Ltd. has backed off its demand for $1 billion from Costa Rica. Now the Calgary-based firm only seeks $94 million, about what it invested in the ill-fated Las Crucitas open pit gold mine since 1993.

The company said Monday that it has filed an arbitration request with the World Bank’s arbitration organization and seeks $94 million from Costa Rica. The information came from the firm’s local subsidiary. The arbitration demand was expected.

Editors posted a news story about the demand Monday afternoon.

The Las Crucitas mine was in Cutris de San Carlos. The initial amount does not include interest and legal costs which the company seeks, too, the firm said.

The case is being filed under the Costa Rica-Canadian trade treaty, which includes protection for investors, said the local subsidiary, Industrias Infinito S.A., which had been trying to open a pit mine since 1993.

The mining concession was supported by the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration, but a panel of the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo annulled the concession after a hearing, the last in a lengthy legal process.  Environmentalists opposed the project.

The company said the action was taken because the government declined to negotiate. The local spokesperson, Yokebec Soto, said the company still hoped for a friendly resolution.

The vast reduction in the amount demanded appears to stem from the company’s decision to seek compensation for actual expenses and not the estimated value of the gold that would have been extracted.  The company earlier had placed its lost investment in Costa Rica at $92 million.

The project site holds an estimated 800,000 ounces of recoverable gold, the company has estimated. The case is in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

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