Buyat Bay community not giving up on justicePublished by MAC on 2005-01-04
Buyat Bay community not giving up on justice
JATAM and WALHI Press Release
January 4, 2005
The Buyat Bay community has not dropped the civil suit against the gold mining company Newmont. Newmont's December 28th press release and following media reports stated that the civil suit had been dropped and that the community had conceded that they had no evidence that the company had sickened the citizens with their mine waste. These statements made by Newmont angered and shocked the Buyat community representatives.
Newmont had offered mediation as a possible solution to the Buyat community who are suing the company for US$543 million for causing contamination and sickness in their community.
"We never stated that we want the charges dropped against Newmont dropped and that we have reached a peaceful agreement with Newmont. We feel very heavy and disadvantaged by the statement by Newmont in the media" stated Buyat Bay community representatives in their December 31st letter to the South Jakarta court. This letter asked the South Jakarta court to delay the mediation process until they had time to consider their options.
The Buyat community representatives acting as plaintiffs in the civil suit are meeting with their lawyers to discuss next steps. Newmont's manipulation of information in their press statement that the community has dropped the civil suit is another tactic to shed their
responsibilities to the Buyat Bay community. Newmont's actions show no good will as the world's largest gold mining company to resolve problems they have created in Indonesia. Also, filing defamation lawsuits against five Indonesian activists supporting the Buyat community including the community's lawyer is another hurdle placed by Newmont towards delivering justice to the Buyat community.
Newmont's Indonesian subsidiary Newmont Minahasa Raya had dumped 2000 tons of mine waste daily into Buyat Bay from 1996 to 2004. Shortly after the disposal began, Buyat fishermen experienced a sharp decline in their fish catch and strange diseases began appearing, becoming frequent in the community.