MAC: Mines and Communities

Support Villagers against Newmont Mining — Indonesia

Published by MAC on 2006-04-22

Support Villagers against Newmont Mining — Indonesia

22nd April 2006

Dear Members of Global Response's "Quick Response Network,"

In 2004, our letters helped persuade the Indonesian government to file law suits against Newmont Mining Company for polluting Buyat Bay with toxic tailings from its Minahasa Raya mine. Newmont has already agreed to pay $30 million for environmental clean-up and health care for the affected Buyat community. The company's Indonesian executives still face criminal charges for permitting the pollution to occur.

Now another Indonesian village is trying to stop Newmont from carrying out explorations in a protected forest region. Their courageous protests have been met with police violence and repression. We are forwarding an action alert issued by JATAM (Mining Advocacy Network, Indonesia). Please write in support of the villagers who are struggling to protect the forest and their traditional way of life. Thank you!


17th April 2006


On Sunday, March 26, 2006, seven people were injured, two seriously, with gunshot wounds in a sweeping operation by the Sumbawa District Police. The Police were looking for those who burned Newmont Nusa Tenggara's exploration camp in the Dodo Rinti protected forest on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa. Thirteen people have been detained, including one with gunshot wound. Police refuse to disclose the health status of the two victims in serious condition.

According to a local newspaper, the Sumbawa chief police AH Musarif was removed from his current position following the incident. Indonesian human rights and environmental organizations (JATAM, WALHI, KONTRAS, TAPAL) condemned the excessive and repressive actions against the villagers taken by the Sumbawa District Police, and are calling for an investigation of AH Musarif's involvement in the March 26 shootings. During the following week, university students rallied and demonstrated in support of the villagers, and four people from these protests were also detained and questioned by police.

Since starting exploration in the Elang Dodo area two years ago, Newmont Nusa Tenggara, owned in majority by the American gold mining giant Newmont Mining Corporation, has caused destruction to the local environment and people's livelihoods. Before Newmont came to the area, the local people made a living from forest products such as honey, candlenut, and palm sugar. Since exploration began in the protected forest of Dodo (5,100 ha) and Rinti (7,539 ha), the water supply has significantly decreased. Some plantations such as rice, yellow squash, and cucumber have been decimated due to drought.

The people of Indonesia have a right to reject mining on their land. They have a right to a healthy environment and a secure livelihood. They have a right to defend their safety and security, their family and their environment.

Please send a letter of solidarity and protest stating the following:

1. Your support to the people of Ropang Village who reject Newmont Mining Co's exploration in the Dodo Rinti protected forest on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa. The villagers are struggling to stop the destruction of their environment and livelihoods.

2. Call for the release of the thirteen people detained by Sumbawa District Police on unclear charges, an end to all repressive actions to silence dissent against mining in the area, and an investigation into the Sumbawa District Police actions and shootings on March 26, 2006.

3. Newmont must be held accountable for the damage it has caused to the environment and local livelihoods.

Send your letter to the following addresses:

1. Wawan Hendrawan, Chief of West Nusa Tenggara Provincial Police
Fax Number: +62 370-642243

2. Abdul Hakim Musarif, Chief of Sumbawa District Police
Fax No. +62 371-22709/ 21010

3. Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, Head of Indonesian Commission for Human Rights
Fax: +62 21-3925227

4. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources
Fax: +62 21-8297642

5. MS. Kaban, Minister of Forestry
Fax: +62 21-5700226
Email: and

6. Sutanto, Chief of Indonesian Police
Fax: +62 21-7218021

Please cc your letter to JATAM. Fax. +62-21-7941559, email:

JATAM (Mining Advocacy Network)
Jl. Mampang Prapatan II, No. 30
RT 04/07 Jakarta Selatan
Indonesia 12790
Phone: +62(0) 79181683
Fax: +62(021) 7941559

Thank you for taking a stand for environmental protection and indigenous peoples' rights with the courageous residents of Ropang Village and surrounding areas.

Paula Palmer, Executive Director
Global Response
PO Box 7490
Boulder CO 80306 USA
Tel +303/444-0306

Global Response organizes effective international letter-writing campaigns to protect the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. See action alerts for adults, teens and children at

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