MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Damage Caused by Freeport to Environment is Serious: Minister Says

Published by MAC on 2006-01-26

Damage Caused by Freeport to Environment is Serious: Minister Says

Jakarta

26th January 2006

State Minister of Environment Rachmat Witoelar said that damage to the environment caused by US gold mining company PT Freeport has reached a serious level.

"The damage caused by PT Freeport has been so serious but I do not bring the data," Witoelar said on the sidelines of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) workshop here on Wednesday (1/25).

He further said that his ministry had formed a team to measure and to study the level of the damage caused by the US company.

"Now our team can conduct a research after PT Freeport refused it for a long time and the team is still working," he added.

According to him, the ministry will refer to existing standards like appraisals applied to other companies.

It conducts a research on suspected damage and contamination along the Ajkwa river from upstream to coastal areas.

In its operation, PT Freeport produces tailings of poisonous and dangerous substances which reach the Arafura sea. Its tailings have exceeded the total suspended solid as allowed by the Indonesian law.

Its tailings and wastes destroy the ecosystem and a number of sensitive aquatic species in the river.

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