MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesian groups condemn court ruling over Newmont's waste disposal

Published by MAC on 2012-04-18
Source: Jakarta Post, Jakarata Globe

Dozens of student demonstrators last week pelted the office of Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) after a court ruling allowing the US company to continue dumping tailings in a nearby bay.

A year ago, several environmental organisations urged the government to ban the practice. See: Newmont Under Fire for Waste Disposal Practices in Indonesia

They claim it violates the country's National Strategy and Plan of Action on Biodiversity, drawn up in 2003 by the government and environmental organisations.

An appeal against the court ruling is now being planned. 

Groups to appeal ruling on Newmont

Jakarta Post

10 April 2012

Environmental organizations plan to appeal against a court ruling that allows a gold mining unit of US-based company Newmont to dump its tailings in the sea, saying that the rule contravenes the government's own commitment to protect biodiversity.

Protestors hold a demonstration outside the offices of Newmont Nusa Tenggara
Protestors hold a demonstration outside the offices of
Newmont Nusa Tenggara. Source: Antara, Jakarta Globe

The Jakarta State Administrative Court last week threw out their lawsuit challenging the decision of the Environment Ministry to allow PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PT NNT) to dump more than 140,000 tons of its tailings per day in Senunu Bay in Sumbawa, an island in the province of East Nusa Tenggara.

The bay is part of a coral reef triangle which has one of the widest ranges of biodiversity in the world, the Coalition for the Restoration of Indonesian Seas said on Monday.

The court ruling ignored the 2003 National Strategy and Plan of Action on Biodiversity drawn up together by the government and environmental organizations through a lengthy process that cost Rp 2 billion (US$218,000), the coalition said.

In a brief protest at the Hotel Indonesia Traffic Circle in Central Jakarta, the group's representatives threw a copy of the 2003 Plan of Action into a trash can, saying that the document had become a mere decorative item on the Environment Ministry's bookshelves.

"We will submit the appeal with the High Court/Supreme Court tomorrow," Pius Ginting of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said.

The coalition, grouping Walhi, Kiara (People's Coalition for Fishery Justice) and Jatam (the Mining Advocacy Network) among others, filed the initial lawsuit against the government for giving the approval to Newmont to dump its waste into the sea in May 2011.

The court said that Walhi failed to submit enough evidence to support its claim and that another plaintiff, the Community Movement for Nature Lovers (Gema Alam) had no legal standing to file the suit.

Demonstrators Throw Tomatoes, Water Bottles at Newmont Office

Jakarata Globe

10 April 2012

Dozens of student demonstrators pelted the office of gold miner Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) on Monday over a recent court ruling allowing it to continue dumping tailings in Senunu Bay in West Sumbawa district.

The protesters from the West Nusa Tenggara chapter of the National Student League for Democracy (LMND-NTB) threw rotten tomatoes and bottled water at NNT's representative office in Mataram, the provincial capital. Police and NNT security guards did not respond to the pelting.

Andra Ashad, the LMND-NTB chairman, said NNT should be forced to cease operating its Batu Hijau mine and leave the province.

"There is no alternative but for us to kick Newmont out of West Nusa Tenggara," Andra said.

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