A Brief History of Las Juntas

Las Juntas is widely known for its historic gold mining and work towards the advancement of technology in the form of electricity within Costa Rica. The community of Las Juntas is equipped with many restaurants, shops, supermarkets, farmers market, clothing, and technology stores as well multiple residential areas.

As excerpted from In Exchange For Gold by Dr.Richard Niesenbaum, professor of Biology and director of Sustainability Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania , “ Gold has been mined in the area surrounding Las Juntas in northern western Costa Rica for over 100 years. In the beginning, large-scale North American Mining companies exploited the people who worked for them. The miners worked under dangerous and difficult conditions for low wages that mostly went back to the company for food and housing expenses. Subjected to the indignity of full body searches and physical and verbal abuse, miners mounted a rebellion in 1912 that resulted in numerous deaths. There is no record of anyone in this community ever getting rich from gold mining. Instead, the foreign industrialists reaped the profits […] The environment was similarly exploited by early mining operations. The surrounding landscape was deforested, and direct runoff from the mines silted local streams. Large processing plants discharged mercury and cyanide into the air, the soils and rivers from which the community had and continues to breathe, grow its food, and draw its water.

In today’s time the large-scaling mining operations are all gone, but the old tunnels are still, worked by local artisanal miners or coligalleros as they are called in this town. Ironically, the current miners are emboldened by a heritage that was once imposed on them by outsiders, and the town has built a small museum to honor its mining heritage.”