Newmont Mining Co. acquitted of wrongdoing in Indonesia

Yesterday, an Indonesian court found Newmont Mining Co. not guilty of polluting Indonesia’s Buyat Bay with toxic runoff from a now-defunct gold mine, ending a trial that had riled up eco-justice advocates for nearly two years. Judge Ridwan Damanik declared that Newmont’s piping of arsenic and mercury into the bay did not pollute the water or sicken villagers. The doctor who had originally brought charges of wrongdoing withdrew her allegations during the trial, and while one police investigation found unsafe levels of heavy metals in the bay, multiple other tests found toxin levels did not exceed government standards. So that means locals’ complaints of rashes, tumors, headaches, difficulty breathing, and dizziness were … just a flu going around? While prosecutors plan to appeal the decision, mineral investors who had closely watched the trial are all set to start digging up Indonesia; newly exonerated Newmont may expand its regional copper and gold output by up to 40 percent.