The Open Pit and the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica

By Q24N

Green Macaw

Green Macaw

Reading about the struggle to regulate the mining industry in Latin America can be downright discouraging. The practice of open pit mining in particular has had damaging effects on the environment and usually results in the involuntary loss of land owned by small farmers who live near the site. When these farmers protest, they usually lose out because their leaders at the national level are counting on mining operations to fuel the costs of economic growth, provide jobs, and bring in much needed revenue for social programs. Such has been the case in Peru, Guatemala, Colombia and in most Latin American countries.

The story of how Costa Ricans implemented a nationwide ban against new open pit mining has turned out to be a very different story, however. With a population of less than five million, Costa Rica is one of the smallest countries in Central America and has faced its share of dramatic challenges including mounting debt and persistent poverty. But in one important respect, Costa Rica is leading the way in the Western Hemisphere – that of standing up for the environment against the multibillion dollar metal mining industry.

The Case Against Infinito Gold

In 2002, Costa Rica became the … continue reading