Indonesia’s natural resources are among the most bonteous and abused. In 2004, the sediment in Buyat Bay, the equatorial bay where an American corporation, Newmont Mining, had been depositing mine waste for several years, was polluted with high levels of arsenic and mercury. The villagers have complained of a rashes, lumps, breathing difficulties and dizzies. Report’s Newmont that no contamination of the fish or the water was happened.
In 2004, Newmont Minahasa Raya (NMR) began closing down its operations in North Sulawesi, leaving local communities in Buyat Bay and Ratatatok with a dubious legacy. NMR use a submarine tailings disposal (STD) system which a method of waste due to its harmful environmental and health impacts. From 1996 until its closure, NMR dumped more than four million tons of mine waste into the bay. Forum the Environment (WALHI) found that NMR’s tailings contained four times the government-allowed level of cyanide and high levels of mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. But the WAHLI report’s recommendation that the tailings disposal system be evaluated and redesigned was ignore by both NMR and Indonesian government.
The Manado district court declared NMR and its president-director, innocent of the charge they polluted and damaged the environment in Buyat Bay. The verdict was greeted with jubilation by audience. Outside the courthouse, hundreds of demonstrators shouted protests against the court’s decision.
According to Friends of Earth International, the judgment ignored compelling evidence presented by the government-convened Joint Investigative Team, finding the mine waste had caused extensive environmental damage. Newmont had used the destructive practice of ocean disposal of mine waste in Buyat Bay. In Newmont’s home country, the United States, this destructive practice is effectively banned under the Clean Water Act. They claim that the mine waste Newmont contaminated the seabed with arsenic at...