San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ascott Mining Company allegedly squeezing independent miners

On Monday, a report by the Costa Rican online daily El País revealed that several small gold miners living in Abangares, a town in northwestern province Guanacaste, are being pressured into working for the British company Ascott Mining. Workers say a company official told them they should either work for the company or lose their right to independently mine in the area.

According to the report, the mining company would be willing to buy the land where they currently work, and would be interested in reactivating gold exploration permits granted 10 years ago (TT, Aug. 1, 2008).

The environmental group Abangares Association of Watersheds and Environment said the company has not submitted any environmental feasibility study before Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry, so that any large-scale gold exploration would not be legal.

Environmentalist groups also say the company plans to drill a large well in the area, which could affect the major aquifers that provide water to local residents, El País reported.

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