Environmentalists are warning of a potential disaster if care isn’t taken to prevent cyanide seepage from an open-pit gold mine in the small Pacific-slope town of Miramar, in the hills east of Puntarenas.
The Bellavista mine suspended operations in July, according to a report in the daily La Nación, and had committed to monitoring the earth’s movements, which at the time were believed to be slipping about half an inch daily.
“Our fears have become reality,” said Luis Diego Marín of Preserveplanet.org, who warns that a catastrophe of “great proportions” is imminent.
An earthquake or landslide, warn environmentalists, could rupture a membrane that isolates the cyanide pools from the local aquifers, and lead to contamination of rivers, water supplies and the Gulf of Nicoya, just nine miles from the mine.
According to Gabriel Rivas, of the Costa Rican Federation for Environmental Preservation (FECON), the mine owners, the Glencairn Gold Corporation of Canada, must take action now.
“Who will be responsible for this environmental disaster after it happens?” Rivas asked.
The Tico Times was unable to obtain comment from mine owners by press time.