Newmont Mining to pay Indonesia $30 million to settle pollution suit

Colorado-based Newmont Mining Corp. has agreed to pay $30 million to the government of Indonesia to settle a long-running pollution lawsuit, but the parties have agreed to disagree about the pesky question of whether, um, any illegal pollution occurred. Indonesia’s civil suit against Newmont, which sought $135 million, charged the company with letting waste from its gold mine in Northern Sulawesi province pollute Buyat Bay with arsenic and mercury — reportedly sickening area residents with tumors, rashes, and more. Newmont denied the charges, and both sides rallied scientific evidence to prove their cases. The company won’t have to admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, which will fund community development and environmental monitoring around the now-closed mine for 10 years. A criminal case under way against Newmont and its Indonesian director won’t be affected by the agreement, and Newmont continues to operate a much larger and more lucrative gold and copper mine on Indonesia’s Sumbawa island.