Newmont (PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara) also operates the much bigger gold-copper mine in East Lombok. Th
Newmont (PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara) also operates the much bigger gold-copper mine in East Lombok. This uses floating reagents and detergents instead of cyanide as at the Minahasa Raya mine (NMR) in North Sulwesi. Newmont Nusa Tenggara has been dumping 120,000 tons per day of tailings (60 times more than at NMR) since the end of 1999, amounting to.43.8 million tons per year. Surfers and fisher people around Lombok have noticed a decline in water quality and fish catch since the STD operation began., although the company denies it..
"The fish decrease in Lombok Timor, it is not due to sub-sea tailings disposal"
May 07, 2004
PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (NNT) has not yet received information directly from the Vice Governor regarding this company's tailings has caused decreasing fish in East Lombok waters as reported by fishermen to Vice Governor of Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB). This company trusrs the Vice Governor to take action to review the situation and determine the truth of the situation, it was stated by Kasan Mulyono Public Relation Manager NNT to Miningindo.
The company is aware that there is significant proof that there has been a general decrease in fish catch not only in East Lombok but throughout Indonesia due to a variety of causes including over fishing and destructive fishing practices such as the use of fish bombs and poisons. "While we are not sure what specifically has caused the fish decrease in Lombok Timor, we are very confident that it is not due to sub-sea tailings disposal from PTNNT," said Mulyono.
PTNNT hopes that appropriate authorities will survey the situation and determine the true causes of the decreased fish catch in East Lombok. Further, this company hopes that appropriate authorities are able to design a program to assist these fishermen in ways that will improve their income while emphasizing non-destructive fishing practices.
Allegations regarding decreased fish catch and NNT tailings have risen several times. The first time that this allegation was made by NGOs from East Lombok was in 1999, prior to NNT initiating operations and prior to the presence of any tailings. There continues to be misunderstandings regarding NNT's tailings disposal system.
First, those tailings are placed south of Sumbawa in an area consistent with that predicted and described in the approved environmental impact assessment (ANDAL). The area of tailings disposal is located over 50 kilometers from Tanjung Luar in East Lombok. Second, joint monitoring by NNT and LIPI, has demonstrated that NNT's tailings are confined within the Senunu canyon, descending to depths of 3000 to 4000 meters, far below the area inhabited by commercially valuable fish.
Additionally, joint monitoring by NTB BAPEDALDA and the NTB Independent team has shown that there is no heavy metal contamination in dissolved water. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate that the sea water quality continues to be better than that required for Sea Garden Conservation Standards.
Third and most important, NNT's tailings are non-hazardous and non-toxic and similar to the mud and sand found on the bottom of the sea. LIPI has conducted independent toxicity studies with commercial fish species and NNT tailings, concluding that the tailings, even with no dilution, had no toxicity affects on these species.
NNT remains committed to open communications and to minimizing the impact on the environment and the people of Sumbawa and NTB.
"We remain hopeful that the Government will be able to determine the true cause of reduced fish catch in East Lombok and will take steps to reverse that trend. Although we are not sure why the fish catch in East Lombok is decreasing, PTNNT tailings have been shown to be non-toxic, and non-hazardous to fish even when undiluted. Further the tailings disposal system has been shown to be operating as predicted in the ANDAL," said Mulyono.
NNT is an Indonesian joint venture company owned 80% by Nusa Tenggara Partnership and 20% by PT Pukuafu Indah (Indonesia). Nusa Tenggara Partnership is owned 56.25% by Newmont Indonesia Limited and 43.75% by Nusa Tenggara Mining Corporation. It was formed in 1986 to explore and eventually exploit under contract to the Government of Republic of Indonesia a Contract of Work area located on Eastern NTB.