(Ottawa) Eight Canadian organizations today sent a strongly worded letter to CEO John Morgan of Canadian mining company Infinito Gold, demanding that the company end its decade-long harassment of the people and the government of Costa Rica, and that it withdraw its April 4 threat to sue the small Central American country for US$1 billion if it is not allowed to build its Crucitas open-pit gold mine.
Infinito Gold has tried to portray itself as the victim of a capricious court system. In reality, the Calgary-based company has tried to strong-arm Costa Rica’s judiciary into overturning two Supreme Court rulings (2010 and 2011) that upheld the country’s ban on open-pit mining. The courts told the Canadian company it could not develop the Crucitas mine, and told Infinito to pack up and go.
Instead of leaving, the company ratcheted-up a campaign of intimidation, attempting to censor a University of Costa Rica course focussed on the mining project and launching defamation suits against two professors and three other Costa Ricans who have spoken out publicly about the potential impact that this mining activity could have on a fragile environment.
In 2012 the Canadian government was asked by Costa Rica to provide information about an alleged US$200,000 donation to then-President Oscar Arias’ Arias Foundation in 2008, coming from Canada, and made just days before Arias decreed that the Crucitas mine was to be considered ‘in the national interest.’ Canada’s Department of Justice responded to this request in early February of this year, but has refused to comment on the information provided. The Costa Rican government suddenly announced last week that the long-time head of the Arias Foundation had been named as its Ambassador to Argentina.
“The company’s behaviour, and the public support it has enjoyed from the Canadian Embassy, has seriously damaged Canada’s reputation in Costa Rica, a country that is a favourite destination for Canadian eco-tourists,” said MiningWatch Canada spokesman Jamie Kneen, adding, “Today’s letter calls on Infinito Gold to drop all legal actions against Costa Rica and its citizens and to leave the country. It also calls on the Canadian government to immediately divulge what it knows about the questionable payment made to the Arias Foundation in 2008.”
The letter was signed by:
• MiningWatch Canada
• Common Frontiers
• Sierra Club Canada
• Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
• Council of Canadians
• The Blue Water Project
• Polaris Institute
• Public Service Alliance of Canada
For more information please contact:
Jamie Kneen, MiningWatch Canada, tel. (613) 569-3439, e-mail jamie(at)miningwatch.ca