Good Riddance Infinito Gold, A Long Overdue Farewell to Costa Rica

July 22, 2015 | By admin | Filed in: Infinito GoldCosta RicaInternational Trade & Investment.

Canadian, US and other international civil society
organizations welcome Infinito Gold’s announcement that it is
calling it quits on its tortuous quest to open the Crucitas
mine in Costa Rica in spite of the determined opposition of the
Costa Rican people and repeated court decisions against it.

On July 15, Infinito Gold
that all of the company’s directors and officers
have resigned and that its principal shareholder and creditor
is no longer willing to put up money for this sinking ship that
was reporting a deficit of over $160 million. Ronald Mannix,
Infinito Gold’s longtime angel investor, finally pulled the
plug after putting up some
$70 million in loans

For some fifteen years, against the wishes of the Costa Rican
people, this junior Canadian mining company has sought to
develop an open-pit gold mine in the north of Costa Rica, near
the San Juan River on the border with Nicaragua.

Polls have shown that some 80 per cent of the Costa Rican
population rejected the proposed Crucitas mine. On three
occasions, from 2010 to 2013, the Supreme Court of Costa Rica
denied permission to Infinito to proceed with its project.

In February 2014, after having lost its mining concessions,
Infinito Gold lodged a $94 million investor-state lawsuit
against the Costa Rican government in the World Bank’s
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
(ICSID). The company was contesting Costa Rica’s legitimate
rejection of the proposed Crucitas open-pit gold mine on the
terms of the Canada-Costa Rica Foreign Investment Protection
Agreement (FIPA) signed in 1998. Legal costs to date have been

at $1,7 million USD. The precise status of this
suit following the shuttering of Infinito Gold
is not clear

Infinito’s tenure in Costa Rica was also marred with
allegations of corruption. Although the investigation was
eventually dropped for lack of evidence, ex-President Oscar
Arias was accused of inappropriately granting Infinito Gold a
licence in 2008 when there was already a moratorium in effect
on all large-scale mining in the country dating back to 2002.
We have long questioned the potential influence that an alleged
donation of $200,000 USD from Ronald Mannix’s Norlien Foundation to the Arias
Foundation in 2008 could have had on this decision. When it was
still trying to get to the bottom of these questions, the Costa
Rican Attorney General stated that the Canadian Department of
Justice did not answer all of its questions, which were
important to proceeding with the investigation. Infinito was
also accused of interfering in a Costa Rican election campaign,
and in
2010 was barred
from referring to municipal elections in
its publicity.

This litigious company also went after its critics. Over the
years, Infinito Gold initiated five lower court actions for
defamation against two university professors, a lawyer for an
environmental group, and two Congressional Deputies. All failed
or were withdrawn.

Infinito Gold’s decision to finally fold should have come years
ago. Indeed, it is a mystery why anyone would have wanted to
try to push this project after Canadian mining ‘major’ Placer
Dome (since merged with Barrick Gold) walked away from it in
May 1998, in the face of massive public opposition. This is
another victory for the people of Costa Rica who have fought
long and hard to keep their country free of open-pit gold
mining. We hope it is more permanent this time.

The policies and protections that Canada has been promoting to
protect Canadian mining companies, however, remain in place,
for which reason our fight is not over. For more than 20 years,
Canada has pursued and negotiated trade and investment
agreements that promote and protect the rights of investors at
the expense of human rights, labour rights, and environmental
standards. Even though foreign corporations have repeatedly won
suits against Canada under the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), the Canadian government has paid this high
price in order to provide at least the appearance of security
to Canadian companies operating abroad. The conduct of Canadian
mining companies such as Infinito Gold is one of the results of
that agenda. Canada must rescind, revise or renegotiate its
existing trade and investment agreements and pursue an
investment agenda based on respect for human, community,
labour, and environmental rights.

As we continue the fight at home against such unjust corporate
protections, we offer our congratulations to the Costa Rican
people, and our “good riddance” to this shameful, and
shameless, Canadian mining company.


  • Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network (ARSN) (Canada)
  • Blue Planet Project (Canada)
  • Center for Alternative Mining Development Policy (US)
  • Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
    (CISPES) (US)
  • Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL)
  • Common Frontiers (Canada)
  • Council of Canadians
  • Entrepobles/Entrepueblos/Herriarte/Entrepobos (Spain)
  • Information Group on Latin America (IGLA) (Austria)
  • Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Program (US)
  • Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network (BTS)
  • Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN) (Canada)
  • Mining Justice Alliance (Canada)
  • MiningWatch Canada
  • SalvAide (Canada)
  • Trade Justice Network (Canada)
  • TPP Canada (Permanent Peoples Tribunal on the Canadian
    mining industry)

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