San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Canadian firm threatens $1 billion lawsuit against Costa Rica

Canadian mining company Infinito Gold on Thursday demanded the right to resume work at a gold mine in Costa Rica’s northern region “over a period of six months from today [Thursday],” or else the company said it would file a $1 billion lawsuit for breach of the Costa Rica-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

The company sent a letter to Foreign Trade Minister Anabel González demanding the government “allow local franchise Industrias Infinito SA (IISA) to resume full operations of the Crucitas mine located in San Carlos, Alajuela, which was closed after the approval of an amendment to the Mining Law that banned open-pit mining in the country.”

IISA’s spokeswoman Yokebec Soto said at a press conference that the company “believed the investment was guaranteed, because our company was invited to the country to develop the mine.”

The company has already invested $92 million in the project, and it claims to have lost $1 billion in potential profit, Soto said.

She said Infinito would pursue legal action as outlined in protocols of the Bilateral Investment Treaty, approved by both countries.

On Jan. 30, 2011, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court’s Civil and Administrative Law Branch annulled the mining concession and upheld a ban on open-pit mining, approved after an amendment to the country’s Mining Code was adopted in 2010.

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