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Quote of the Day - This is the devilish thing about foreign affairs: they are foreign and will not always conform to our whim. - James Reston
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Foreign Operations Place Foreigners In Forlorn Jeopardy

The Indonesia Supreme Court upheld the jailing of three executives of Newmont Mining Company late last year. They were held for 30 days and then released. Indonesian officials were investigating possible environmental contamination. Newmont disputes the environmental allegations (scroll down to "Indonesia" section).

Back in October last year, Reuters explained the allegations.

Newmont mines gold and touts its environmental compliance. Indonesian environmental activists claim the company discharges arsenic and mercury into the ocean and air as part of its operations. The company has numerous press releases addressing these issues (see sidebar on right).

It appears, however, that Indonesia will be pursing charges against the Denver-based company's executives that could result in prison terms of up to 15 years. Things on the civil front don't appear much better. Although Newmont notes that a nearly half-billion dollar lawsuit was dropped by activists in Indonesia, a new, $133 million lawsuit popped up last week. An AP article published Thursday in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted, "Jakarta's determination to press charges against Newmont has cheered green activists, who have long complained that foreign mining operations in Indonesia skirt environmental laws. But it risks spooking investors who complain that Indonesia's legal system and police are inefficient and corrupt."

The World Health Organization and an Indonesian environmental ministry first found no mercury pollution, but a later study by the Indonesian government apparently found high levels in the seabed.

Newmont's executives are essentially free on bail, and must check in periodically with local authorities.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, March 18, 2005 at 12:52 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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