On Wednesday a court ruled that there were irregularities in the issuance of permits awarded to the Canadian mining company for exploiting a gold mine, and decided to annul the concession.
Representatives of the company, which has invested about $ 127 million in the project, reacted surprised, saying they did not understand the verdict when "the highest court (Constitutional Court) in the country endorsed the Crucitas project as environmentally, legally, constitutionally and socially viable.”
Members of the Costa Rican business sector were concerned that this sequence of events would project an image of legal insecurity in the country. Luis Gamboa, president of the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, told Nacion.com that "when an investor has a contract with the State to do a project and that contract is terminated or revoked by another instance, whomever has invested significant amounts of money in the country sees its investment and its future fade away.”
In August, Canada's ambassador in Costa Rica had warned that the situation "sends a very uncertain message to the international investment community at a time when Costa Rica is actively seeking more foreign investment".
The Costa Rican Chamber of Industries summed the situation in a press release: "this ruling thumps a 15 year initiative... 15 years of a red-tape via crucis that can only be understood by those who have been or are businessmen ... if all the entities that participated in approving the project through all these years failed to do correctly, including the constitutional court, as argued by the ruling, ... then we have failed gravely as a country. ... Which investor is going to believe in any permit, license, patent, concession, contract or any other instrument issued by the competent authorities if it can be annulled, cancelled or contested by mistakes and incompetence generated by the state's officials. This is called legal uncertainty and is allied with the insecurity caused by incompetence".
The money that the State of Costa Rica will lose in the dispute over the failed concession of the Crucitas mine will come from taxpayer's pockets.
During the 20 year period of the soap opera that is Crucitas gold mine, none of the individuals who are involved in one way or another have suffered any financial loss and many, on the contrary, have seen an increase in their income and their bank accounts.
Taking into account the ruling of the Constitutional Court in favor of the gold mining project and the risk of a multi-million pound law suit, Chinchilla will not cancel the concession.
The Mina Crucitas operations, which are in the preparatory phase, remain suspended as a precaution pending the reversal of the Contentious-Administrative Tribunal ruling, which stopped the mine from operating in response to a complaint from an environmental organization.
Receive more news about Local Law
Suscribe FOR FREE to CentralAmericaDATA EXPRESS.
The most important news of Central America, every day.