San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica denies Canadian firm right to resume mining

Costa Rican officials Wednesday nixed a resumption of mining by Metales Procesados M.R.W, a subsidiary of Canadian-owned B2Gold, at a site that collapsed back in 2007.

A technical-environmental body in the environment ministry said plans for resuming operations at the site in Miramar de Puntarenas, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of San Jose, were environmentally non-viable.

The body cited a May 2010 decree by President Laura Chinchilla slapping a moratorium on new mine exploration and mining, particularly for gold, which uses highly toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

In 2007, after the mine had been open for two years, an accident led to nearby waters being polluted by cyanide. The mine was then shuttered.

In recent years, Costa Rica has boosted its efforts to protect the environment from mining-related pollution.

The freeze on new mining operations should span the length of Chinchilla’s term at least, through May 2014.

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