All That’s Gold Does Not Glitter
Indonesian judge tosses out pollution suit against mining giant Newmont
This week, an Indonesian judge threw out a $133 million civil suit against Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp., the world’s largest gold miner. Indonesia Environment Minister Rachmat Witular filed the lawsuit in April, charging that a now-closed Newmont gold operation dumped mercury- and arsenic-laden waste into Buyat Bay in an eastern region of Indonesia, sickening nearby villagers with skin and neurological disorders. Newmont hasn’t exactly been exonerated: The judge ruled that the case should be resolved through an arbitration court, and that Witular had no legal authority to represent the government. Environmentalists disagree; they’re urging the government to appeal. A related criminal trial is still under way — one that could put Newmont’s director in Indonesia, Richard Ness, in jail for up to 10 years.