Fri, 23 Mar 2007
From:
Indonesian NGO sues Newmont over alleged Buyat Bay pollution
22-March-2007 - Mineweb
Mineweb -- 22 March 2007

Indonesian NGO sues Newmont over alleged Buyat Bay pollution

Author: Dorothy Kosich, Posted: Thursday , 22 Mar 2007

PT Newmont Minahasa Raya now faces a civil lawsuit brought by an Indonesian NGO over alleged pollution at its former Buyat Bay gold mining operation.

RENO, NV - Indonesia's largest environmental NGO, WALHI, Thursday filed a civil suit against PT Newmont Minahasa Raya and other parties in the South Jakarta court, accusing the former gold mining operation of negligence in its sub-sea disposal of mine tailings into Buyat Bay.

A year ago, the South Jakarta court rejected a civil lawsuit filed by the Indonesian Environmental Ministry against Newmont, claiming pollution and environmental destruction from the mine tailings disposed of into Buyat Bay.

In a statement, Chalid Muhammad, National Director of WALHI, said the group is also suing the Indonesian Department of Energy and Mineral Resources, which supervises mining activities in the nation, and the Environment Ministry which oversees potentially environmentally hazardous activities.

Chalid said, "With our new lawsuit we hope the government will act with more determination in handling the Buyat Bay case so there will be no repetition of environmental crimes, such as those committed by Newmont, and also so that the government will act against anyone who pollutes the environment and endangers community livelihoods."

Richard Ness, who heads Minahasa Raya, has been on trial in an Indonesian court after prosecutors asked judges to sentence Ness to three years in prison if he is found guilty of contaminating the bay with arsenic and mercury. Both prosecutors and Newmont officials anticipate a verdict when the court resumes the case on April 4.

Newmont Chairman and CEO Wayne Murdy told the Rocky Mountain News that an unfair verdict would force Newmont to reconsider its plans for Indonesia. If found guilty by the Indonesian court, Newmont and Ness could also be fined more than $165,000.

Newmont and Ness contend that several scientific studies found no evidence of pollution. Villagers and a physician--who originally filed criminal charges against Newmont claiming they were sickened by fish and water reportedly contaminated by mine tailings--have since recanted their testimony.

In December 2004, Buyat Bay villagers withdrew their $543 million civil lawsuit against Newmont.


Sat, 24 Mar 2007
From: JakChat
Comment by Just
They have already withdrawn the civil lawsuit. maybe because they knew they wouldn't win without corrupt support? Nobody actually "sees" Buyat Bay, so assume that it may well be polluted. However, there was a tourist promo in the JP last year claiming how "beautiful" buyat is. Very strange! (couldn't find the supporting info, but I am sure it was in the JP)
It was amazing to see this promo in the paper. government officials praising Newmont for their environmental work, pictures and stories about how beautiful Buyat is as a tourist destination. Absolutely crazy, especially as Newmont was in court accused of polluting it!

And people believe what they read in the paper! (no pun!)

I'd say...it's all politics... you just gotta play the game or you'll get screwed!



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