Gold, the most sought after precious metal in the world, is not worth its weight when it comes to protecting the environment. Gold has been mined around the globe from rich deposits deep under the earth’s crust, in rocks and caves and even in the rainforest. The high commodity beautiful ore is a natural gift of the earth which provides both necessary function and luxury in daily lives. Mining of gold has been banned in countries such as Costa Rica in recent years, along with restrictions and laws governing other gold mining projects in various areas of the world.
Gold is commonly used in dentistry and other medical procedures. Gold does not corrode or tarnish and can be molded into bendable shapes such as crowns and caps in the dentistry field. The natural healing factors of gold in mystic medical procedures are ancient, but can still provide relief from arthritis and other ailments. The Chinese are known to cook with a bit of gold powder to help replace minerals and stave off illnesses.
Additionally, gold is used in electronics and cell phones. The modern world relies on computers and the inner-workings of the machine rely on gold to conduct electricity and information. Jewelry and gold plated items have been status symbols and even as gold prices rise, people find ways to enjoy the most desired metal they cherish. The need for gold realistically exists, but with untold consequences to the environment at large.
Gold prices have greatly fluctuated within the last decade with the basic equation of economic supply and demand, but generally have kept steady with rising trends in the market. Back in 2008, things were looking good for gold mining projects, as Infinito Gold Ltd., out of Canada, renewed their 1999 agreement with Costa Rica. The previous Canada-Costa Rica Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement had already been established and over time transactions were met to begin mining for gold.
The government of the small Central American country, at the time, was keen on the investment and the project was begun. Like-minded officials started the process with Infinito Gold, Ltd. investing $92 million in tree removal, personnel and equipment. The gold mining expedition was well underway as they started digging on the 70 square mile plot of land in Costa Rice. Things took a drastic change as the government in Costa Rica changed hands and the people of the country became aware. Their precious rainforest was slowly being destroyed.
The Las Crucitas gold mining project was put on hold as citizens of Costa Rica realized the natural habitats to multitudes of flora and fauna were in jeopardy. They made a case for protecting the land and effectively stopped the intrusion of actions from a foreign land. Life became more precious than gold revenues at that point. In 2010, an unanimous vote of the Costa Rican congress decided to ban all gold mining and the Las Crucitas project was halted.
Costa Rica, is located near the equator and keeps a steady temperature of 70 to 90 degrees. The variety of animal species are unique to the area and the trees, ferns and shrubs provide much vital oxygen for the earth’s survival. Often dubbed the lungs of the earth, Costa Rica is also home to millions that have rebelled to the point of action from their current government.
As gold prices continued to rise, so did tempers in the homeland of Costa Rica and Canada. No one was budging or giving in to the new decisions of the people and the government. Infinito Gold Ltd. appealed the decision with no results, as the citizens of Costa Rica celebrated the victory.
Currently, which could take more time, money and legal woes, the Canadian company is suing the country of Costa Rica for breach of contract dating back to 1999. The suit in is process with the asking price of $1 billion in damages and is being handled by The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.
Citing damage to natural habitats, landscape and overall protection of the rainforest, gold mining in Costa Rica is banned at this time. The use of cyanide to mine the gold and run-offs of toxic metals into water is a real threat people of the land will not back down from.
The Canadian interest wants to at least recover the costs already invested, but has been petitioned by citizens of both countries. It could take much more time for a final decision, as the rest of the world waits and wonders about the current market of gold. Down from the price of $1,600 per ounce a year ago, gold prices continue to even out around $1,200 per ounce in the current market. The beautiful metal seems to continue to be worth the time and trouble to pursue at all costs.
By Roanne H. FitzGibbon