Communities Hurt by Newmont Mines Seek Fair Compensation at company AGMPublished by MAC on 2004-04-28
Communities Hurt by Newmont Mines Seek Fair Compensation
Groups hope to raise shareholders awareness of potential liabilities in concert with Newmonts annual meeting
For Immediate Release: April 28, 2004
Press release involving JATAM, Western Shoshone Defense Project, GRUFIDES, WACAM, WALHI, and Global Response.
Radhika Sarin, Earthworks/MPC, 202-887-1872, ext. 202
Chris Sewall, Western Shoshone Defense Project, cell: 775-230-0823, office: 775-468-0230
Harlin Savage, Resource Media, 303-554-8946
Marco Arana, Cajamarca, Peru, 011-51-76-832082 (Note: Arana speaks only Spanish)
Denver, Colorado - Shareholders gathering today for Newmont Mining Corp.s annual meeting will be met by rosy financial reports, but for thousands of people living near its gold mines in Indonesia, Peru, and Nevada, living conditions continue to deteriorate. Critics charge the companys operations have polluted drinking water, contaminated fisheries and farmland, and led to serious health problems, which the multi-billion-dollar company has refused to acknowledge to its shareholders as a significant financial and social liability.
Recently, NGOs in Ghana and Indonesia have challenged Newmonts refusal to respect local laws and to compensate fairly the families and children harmed by its mining operations.
At the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, local organizations today launched a No Dirty Gold campaign, urging retailers and consumers to insist that gold be produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Newmont, the worlds largest gold producer, is lobbying Ghanas government officials for permission to build a new gold mine inside a protected forest preserve.
Is it worth destroying our last remaining forests for gold - a metal mainly used for jewelry? asks Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, a member of a coalition of Ghanaian human rights, labor, and environmental groups that oppose Newmonts proposed mine.
And in Jakarta, Indonesia, community leaders asked Newmont not to abandon the communities that have suffered most from mining pollution.
Newmonts Minahasa Raya mine has dumped millions of tons of toxic waste into Buyat Bay, which the fishing village of Ratatotok depends on for survival, said Siti Maimunah from JATAM, the Indonesian mining advocacy network. It is only fair that Newmont, which has made huge profits here, should clean up its mess, which is making people sick and killing off local fisheries.
Newmont, which plans to close the Minahasa Raya mine in June, has refused community requests for information about how the company plans to repair the damage, if it at all.
In Cajamarca, Peru, where Newmont is majority owner of the Yanacocha gold mine, citizens have taken to the streets to protest expansion of the controversial mine to a sixth mountain, Cerro Quilish, an important source of drinking water in the region.
"Newmont has profited greatly from Yanacocha, but residents still suffer terrible health effects from a mercury spill that occurred four years ago, said Catholic priest Marco Arana, a Cajamarca resident and member of the community group GRUFIDES. We are fighting to free our community from poverty and contamination and to affirm our right to development that is based on social equality and environmental protection."
In Nevada, Newmonts proposed Phoenix Project would exacerbate problems for Western Shoshone, whose homelands host nearly all of Newmonts operations in the state.
The project would deplete precious groundwater supplies at the same time it pollutes our remaining fresh water, said Christopher Sewall of the Western Shoshone Defense Project. Were concerned that there arent enough guaranteed funds to cover the clean-up costs for this pollution, which could linger for centuries.
For details about Newmont Mining Corp.s gold mines, download a copy of the 2004 report, Dirty Metals: Mining, Communities, and the Environment, at http://www.nodirtygold.org/dirty_metals_report.cfm
Newmont shareholders face good news and bad
Denver Business Journal
Published: April 28, 2004
Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM), the Denver-based mining giant, saw its 2004 first quarter net income drop by $30.6 million from its Q1 2003 financial report.
Newmont announced Wednesday as it welcomed its shareholders to the Mile High City for the company's annual meeting that it had Q1 2004 net income of $86.7 million, or 20 cents per share, compared to $117.3 million, or 29 cents per share, in Q1 2003.
"Our first quarter operating results reflect higher margins and strong cash flows, demonstrating our leverage to higher gold prices. We will continue to focus our efforts on controlling costs, particularly in Nevada, but we also recognize that higher gold prices bring opportunities to mine additional lower-grade, higher-cost ounces that are value-accretive to Newmont shareholders," said Wayne W. Murdy, chairman and CEO, in a statement.
The 2003 Q1 net income included a number of items that generated net gains, primarily related to the acquisition and integration of Franco-Nevada and Normandy Mining.
Net income for 2004 Q1 was impacted by a $47.1 million non-cash, after-tax charge to recognize the cumulative effect of a change in accounting principle to reflect conforming accounting policies upon consolidation of Batu Hijau.
Newmont's 2004 Q1 revenues were $1.14 billion, a marked increase over the $748.5 million revenues reported for 2003 Q1.
Even though the net income picture for the current quarter wasn't as bright as the previous year, it certainly was sufficient for the Newmont board of directors to declared an increased quarterly dividend of 7.5 cents per share, payable on June 23 to holders of record at the close of business on June 2.
In addition, Newmont Mining Corp.of Canada Limited (TSX: NCM) declared an increased quarterly dividend of 7.5 cents (10.139 cents Canadian) per share.
"Today's decision to increase the dividend by 50 percent reflects the company's stronger operating results, improved financial position, and our continued positive outlook for the gold price," Murdy said in the statement.
But while the Newmont shareholders were greeted by positive financial figures, they were also expected to face Newmont's critics who charge the company's operations have polluted drinking water, contaminated fisheries and farmland, and led to serious health problems in its mining communities in Jakarta, Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and Nevada.
According to Newmont's opponents, "The multi-billion-dollar mining company has refused to acknowledge to its shareholders these claims as a significant financial and social liability."
Recently, groups in Ghana and Indonesia have challenged Newmont's refusal to respect local laws and to compensate fairly the families and children harmed by its mining operations.
In Cajamarca, Peru, where Newmont is majority owner of the Yanacocha gold mine, citizens are protesting expansion of the controversial mine to a sixth mountain, Cerro Quilish, an important source of drinking water in the region, according to an Earthworks press release.
"Newmont has profited greatly from Yanacocha, but residents still suffer terrible health effects from a mercury spill that occurred four years ago," said Catholic priest Marco Arana, a Cajamarca resident and member of the community group GRUFIDES, in the press release. "We are fighting to free our community from poverty and contamination and to affirm our right to development that is based on social equality and environmental protection."
Newmont has been sued in Denver by more than 1,000 Peruvian villagers over a the mercury spill in 2000. The mine is jointly owned by Newmont, which has a 51 percent stake, and Compania de Minas Buenaventura.
In an April 9 story, the Denver Business Journal reported that Newmont was seeking help from the state Legislature to avoid being sued in Colorado over matters that happen elsewhere in Newmont's far-flung gold and precious minerals empire. Gov. Bill Owens signed the bill into law on April 8.
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Newmont blasted over Martha vibrations
Friday, April 16, 2004
The problems of mining in an urban environment continue to dog Newmont at its Martha mine at Waihi on the North Island of New Zealand.
According to a report in Waikato Times newspaper, the Hauraki district council is discussing a number of complaints about blast vibrations from the mine and may seek permission to prosecute.
The Martha mine is closely monitored by Newmont under a noise management plan agreed with the council which considered a prosecution last year but did not proceed.
The acting planning and environment manager at the Hauraki council, Mark Buttimore, told the newspaper he had received several complaints over a period of about a week.
"They knew they'd exceeded but they continued blasting, and on that basis I'm recommending a new prosecution be brought," Buttimore was quoted as saying.