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Save Rio Tigre....Save All Osa's Rivers

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Good Bye to River Otters?
What's at Stake
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Community Fights to Save Its River
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Report from the Field: March 6, 2010:  Currently, there is one gravel mine working on the Rio Tigre, and at one point there were sixteen additional applications in process on the Osa Peninsula. If approved, these operations would destroy over 16 miles of river on this tiny but biologically rich peninsula. Half of the entire Rio Tigre is proposed to be mined. 

Two additional applications for gold mining on the Osa Peninsula were recently submitted. These covered nearly 10,000 acres. Both applications are entirely within the Forest Reserve Golfo Dulce—similar to a National Forest in the States. Most of the rivers on the Osa Peninsula outside of Corcovado National Park will be destroyed if these applications are granted. 

This activity extends to the mainland as well. There have been proposals for ten additional in-stream gravel mines within about 50 miles of the Osa Peninsula. In all, 28 mining concessions have been proposed—on 12 separate rivers in southwestern Costa Rica.

Wake Up, Osa!

Jan. 21, 2010.  Liz Jones, owner of the Bosque del Rio Tigre lodge near Dos Brazos, Osa Peninsula, flew to San Jose to attend a meeting of river activists from across Costa Rica. She confirmed what we had suspected - that the mining of gravel (and now gold) from the rivers threatens to destroy nearly every river ecosystem remaining in the south of Costa Rica.  The following article reports her findings:

5 rivers and 14 gravel mining concessions

We all know that the Osa Peninsula is a world gem, famous for its biodiversity, treasured by Costa Ricans and the world alike.

Is this the place for industrial scale in-stream gravel mining to support the development of the southern zone of Costa Rica?

Major gravel mining concessions on the east side of the peninsula could entirely ruin the ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula and could seriously damage the Golfo Dulce and the mangroves.

There are 14 concessions from Rio Rincon to Rio Tigre, approximately 20km, from north to south, and almost every concession covers 2 km of river(2 or maybe 3 of the concessions are 1 km) making approx 26km of river to be mined simultaneously!

What will the travelers think when they see this activity from the air?

This is not a thing of the future. Some of these concessions are already approved.

  • 5 concessions on the Rincon….2 already approved by SETENA, one of these ready for the president's signature
  • 1 on the Conte
  • 2 on the Barrigones
  • 2 on the Agujas , one of which is already approved
  • 4 on the Tigre, one approved and in production, 1 approved but stalled by legal problems and 2 more pending
  • 1 tiny one on the Rio Piro (not included in the 14 mentioned above)


2 gold mining concessions,

  •       Rio Rincon
  •       Rios Tigre, Agujas and Barrigones concession,

We do not yet know the volumes of material for these concessions but the ones on the Rio Tigre allow removal of approximately 80 truck loads a day.

Gravel mining has been proven to drastically impact the aquatic insect life in the rivers. This then effects the whole food chain and causes a chain reaction up into the forests of the Osa.   

Please take the time to visit the current active concession on the Rio Tigre to get a better understanding of what SETENA and Geological and Mining are about to permit.  There is almost no monitoring by government agencies and the few environmental protection measures written into the concessions are ignored.

Halting gravel mining in rivers does not need to halt development! There are alternatives to this destructive practice.  There is gravel under most of the Coastal plain, under the plantations and cattle pastures.  Many farms report 7-12 meters of this material with less than 1 meter of soil on top of it.  Taking gravel from pits would be a lot less destructive and have a lot less impact on the bottom of the food chain.

Elizabeth Jones

Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge

Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica

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