Costa Rica’s Congress has voted to ban open-pit mining projects in the country, barring the Crucitas gold mining project.
The lawmakers said open-pit methods can lead to deforestation and could destroy wildlife in the country, which earns less than 1% of its gross domestic product from metals mining.
Environment Ministry head of mining Jose Castro said that President Laura Chinchilla, who passed a moratorium on mining in May, may sign the bill into law.
“Costa Rica is a country that has dedicated itself to protecting the environment,” Castro told Reuters.
“We think it is contradictory to promote the environment and continue to pursue mining activity.”
The law will not affect Infinito Gold’s Crucitas project, which already has an environmental permit with an indicated resource of 1.2 million ounces of gold.
Crucitas had been declared a project of national interest.