San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Appeals Court Schedules Hearings on Gold Mine

Costa Rica’s Administrative Appeals Court will host extended hearings from Oct. 4 through 8 to help determine the future of the Crucitas gold mine in northern Costa Rica.

The court heard arguments from opponents and proponents of the project during a public hearing on last Tuesday and decided to extend the case to a second debate, judicial branch press officials said.

The appeals court must determine the legality of a public decree signed in 2007 by former President Oscar Arias that declared the mine to be of “public interest.”

Opponents of the decree and the mine claim that the project’s economic benefits would not justify the “socio-environmental costs” that it would provoke. Without a favorable cost-benefit finding, the decree is illegal, challengers claim.

The appeals court hearings come nearly six months after Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 vote that the mine does not violate the Constitution’s guarantee to a “clean and ecologically balanced environment.”

When the high court ruled in favor of the mine on April 16, opponents appealed the decision to the Administrative Appeals Court. The project remains on hold pending the court’s decision.

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