While still awaiting a Costa Rica court decision on its mine plans near the northern border, the Canadian company Infinito Gold Ltd. is making strides on another gold concession in Nicaragua.
Infinito Gold has signed an agreement with a private individual for further exploration of the Zungano concession near Nicaragua´s Chachagua River in Nueva Segovia, about 25 kilometers northeast of the town of Quilalí, the company said in a recent news release. Part of the 25,000-hectare property lies 10 km from the historic San Albino gold mine.
In a $4.92 million deal, the concession will pass entirely over to Infinito Gold, although the current concession holder will retain a residual royalty of 1.5 percent on gold sales to a maximum of $10 million.
The current land use in the area includes farming on the steep slopes of hills, which are cut by local drainages including the Chachagua River, according to the news release.
Infinito Gold´s mine in northern Costa Rica, in the town of Crucitas, remains a point of contention among environmental groups here and continues to cause tension with neighboring Nicaragua, particularly for fears of contamination to its San Juan River and nearby towns.
In 2005, Costa Rica´s National Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry (SETENA) issued an environmental viability permit allowing the company to clear 126 hectares of trees in order to build the Crucitas mine and accompanying facilities. That area was reduced to 50 hectares in February 2008.
Opposing parties argued whether cutting down the trees violated article 50 of the Costa Rican constitution, which ensures a “healthy and ecologically balanced environment” for the nation´s citizens. The Supreme Court halted all activity at the mine in Las Crucitas on Oct. 20, 2008. The high court has still not announced a verdict on whether the mine can start up again.