Gold Mining – Rainforest Destruction in Costa Rica

Gold Mining – Rainforest Destruction in Costa Rica

We recently received the following statement from The Monteverde Conservation League (the guys responsible for the Children’s Eternal Rainforest). We thought we ought to pass the message along.

I don’t know what we can do to help on this one, but I’ll do some digging and see if there is some way to lodge a simple protest. If anyone knows of a way, please add it to the comments at the bottom.

The Monteverde Conservation League (MCL) is a civil non-profit organization, and during the last twenty years has extensively promoted environmental education, conservation, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The MCL now presents the following public announcement about the important environmental theme “OPEN AIR METAL MINING”. This announcement takes into consideration that the community of Las Crucitas, San Carlos, in the northern zone of Costa Rica, has authorized the government to construct what would be an open air gold mine. This mine will be the largest open-air mine in Central America, and they have already began to deforest the little remaining tropical forest present in the region. This has consumed large and important reservoirs of biodiversity, where unique ecosystems composed of a large variety of wildlife can be found.

For this reason, the MCL must acknowledge that:

a. Open air mining is considered on a global level to be one of the most destructive activities in regard to the environment,
b. Gold extracted from the earth tends to be found in very small quantities, and to be successful in its extraction one must process a large amount of material. At least six tons of material (earth and other components) must be mined in order to obtain one gram of gold, and in addition almost 4.5kg of cyanide and other compound chemicals (very toxic substances) must be added to a mix of the mined material and water to separate and extract the gold, which obviously will remain in the environment.
c. The main consequences of mining related activities are: the destruction of the forest, land, and landscape; the utilization of large quantities of water (a small mine will consume in one hour what a family will use over twenty years); as well as the contamination of water, air, and soils with harmful chemicals that last for hundreds of years.
d. The generation of employment will be minimal, this based on the fact that modern technology used for mining requires qualified individuals; for these reasons the social impacts will be very negative considering the effects on health and safety.
e. The economy of our country has never been dependant upon mining activities, and few provide benefits.

And on those grounds, The Monteverde Conservation League, in carrying out its mission, establishes and states:

  • a NO ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF DESTRUCTIVE ACTIVITIES, IN DIRECT HARM OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND COMMUNITIES.
  • a NO ON THE OPEN AIR MINING OF METALS in Crucitas of San Carlos, Northern Zone, or in any other region of Costa Rica.

Also, we support and unite the other organizations that promote and perform the conservation of natural resources, as well as fight against the attempts to harm these resources, such as mining.

Finally we request and insist that the government authorities establish professional consultation in regard to environmental impact, and integrate the accumulative and synergetic impacts of the region into the environmental impact studies in order that their decisions do not go against natural resources or future community development.

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This post was written by:

rob - who has written 45 posts on Children's Tropical Forests.


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