Costa Rica has banned new gold mining projects after environmentalists increased the pressure to stop mining activities.

President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla signed a decree banning new gold mining projects hours after taking office on 8 May, according to Reuters.

Costa Rica has few mineral resources and metallic mining contributes less than 1% to the country’s gross domestic product.

The new ban will not affect the Crucitas mine project, the country’s biggest gold mining project, which has already obtained a permit from the government.

Construction at Crucitas remains suspended while a court reviews environmentalists’ allegations that it threats virgin forests and animals.

Crucitas, owned by Canada’s Infinito Gold, is thought to hold about 1.2 million ounces of gold.