Goodwill pact

Published: Wednesday 15 March 2006

The us- based transnational Newmont Mining Corporation has reached a 'goodwill agreement' with the Indonesian government by signing an out-of-court settlement in regard to alleged dumping of toxic-waste at the firm's local subsidiary's Buyat Bay gold mine operation.

The agreement requires Newmont to pay us $30 million over ten years to a special foundation that will fund environmental monitoring and community development around the firm's now-defunct Buyat Bay gold mine.

Newmont claims that the work contract between its Indonesian subsidiary and the country's government gives it indemnity against litigation. But civil society activists have, in recent years, intensified demand for action against industrial polluters long immune from legal censure during the three decades of rule by former dictator Suharto.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government probe also found preliminary evidence of toxic pollution, similar to that of Buyat Bay, in Papua province, where Freeport McMoRan, a us copper and gold miner, holds sway over mining operations. McMoRan was recently threatened by the government with legal action if it did not improve its practices at its Grasberg mine.

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