Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Costa Rica Bans Open-Pit Metal Mining


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Jessica Lawrence:
Costa Rica Acts on Human Rights Link to Climate Change

During a United Nations session on human rights last month, Earthjustice’s U.N. representative applauded Costa Rica for acknowledging the link b...

by Ben Barron:
It Takes a Good Lawyer To Be a Good Steward

The idea that humans should come first when it comes to our relationship with the natural world traces back to the roots of western culture. For examp...

by Erika Rosenthal:
Protection Of Oceans A Bright Spot At Rio+20

The news out of the Rio+20 Earth Summit has been bleak. World leaders, yet again caught in the headlights of financial crises and electoral cycles, fu...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Anna Cederstav's blog posts
23 November 2010, 5:31 PM
Ban is a result of work by Earthjustice, AIDA and allies
Bellavista open-pit mine, Costa Rica

In a bold and precedent-setting move, Costa Rica has prohibited all future open-pit metal mining! Environmentalists are celebrating the passage of the new law, which—approved unanimously by the Costa Rican Congress—establishes Costa Rica as a country that is "free from open-pit metal mining."

Costa Rica is the first country in the Americas to recognize the severity of the environmental and economic harms caused by open-pit mining, and to say no to future open pit mines.

Earthjustice and its partners are thrilled with this development, as we have been working for years to highlight the threats posed by mining in Costa Rica. Helping communities fighting the Bellavista and Crucitas mines, we have documented the failure of the government to comply with national and international laws for environmental protections, the inadequacy of government efforts to control mining impacts, and the need for much stricter regulation. The new law goes one step further and simply says no to all new open-pit mine projects.

Polls show that 90 percent of Costa Ricans oppose open-pit mining—and the Costa Rican Congress has taken a laudable step by standing up against a powerful industry. The legislators and all the environmental and progressive groups in Costa Rica that worked to make the new law reality deserve our congratulations and thanks!

Unfortunately, this victory won't prevent all harms from mining in Costa Rica. The nation must still address the aftermath of the Bellavista mine, a project which was shut down when the mine collapsed after only two years of operation.

Although that incident made clear that the combination of open pit mining, unstable soils and tropical rainfall is a recipe for disaster, a concession for a similar mine near the Nicaraguan border had already been issued. That proposed mine—Crucitas—is being challenged in court, but may still be allowed to open as the law passed today only applies to new projects. This could mean severe environmental impacts in the bi-national San Juan river region.

Meanwhile, with metal-prices remaining near record highs, a veritable gold rush continues in most nations of our hemisphere. The Colosa mine in Colombia (planned to be the hemisphere's largest), the Paredones Amarillos mine in Baja California, and the Petaquilla mine in Panama are only some of the many projects where Earthjustice is working with our colleagues in AIDA and other law groups to stem the impacts of metal-mining.

Learn more about some of the mining projects we are working on in Latin America.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.