MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2007-03-22


Press Release, Jakarta

22nd March 2007

WALHI, Indonesia's largest environment group, today lodged a civil lawsuit against PT. Newmont Minahasa Raya and related parties in the South Jakarta Court. The case is based on negligence in the ocean disposal of mine waste, which caused environmental damage at Buyat Beach village, North Sulawesi. The claim is strengthened by research carried out by the National Oceanic Research Centre (LIPI) and the Environment Ministry’s Joint (investigation) Team.

The legal proceedings between Newmont Minahasa Raya and the government of Indonesia have been ongoing for almost two years, however there has still not been a verdict regarding Richard Ness’ responsibility as President Director of Newmont in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, around a year ago the South Jakarta Court rejected a civil action brought by the Environment Ministry against Newmont regarding pollution and environmental destruction. At that time, the South Jakarta Court made a dubious determination that the civil action by the Ministry was related to Newmont’s mining contract and therefore should be settled through arbitration, despite the provision in the Environment Law (23/1997) that the government has the right to sue companies that pollute and cause environmental damage.

The case was controversial for elevating commercial mining contracts over national laws.

“From this process, we can see that the government is still weak in the eyes of extractive industry investors. With our new lawsuit we hope the government will act with more determination in handling the Buyat Bay case so that 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,” stressed Chalid Muhammad, National Director of WALHI in Jakarta.

Considering the above, WALHI petitions the court that Newmont be found in breach of provisions of the Environmental Law (23/1997) and the government regulation on Environmental Impact Assessments (27/1999).

WALHI is also suing the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources which stands as the supervising body in mining activities, and the Environment Ministry as the body responsible for overseeing environmentally hazardous activities.

Media Contact: / Ivan V. Ageung, Legal Manager WALHI National Office, 0815 876 8747

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