Newmont Exonerated in Indonesia Trial
Court Clears PT Newmont Minahasa Raya and President Director Richard Ness of All Charges
MANADO, Indonesia, April 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- An Indonesian court today ruled that PT Newmont Minahasa Raya (PTNMR), a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE: NEM), and its President Director Richard Ness are innocent of all criminal charges of pollution and regulatory violations. The prosecution alleged that PTNMR and Ness caused environmental pollution while conducting mining operations near Buyat Bay in the South Minahasa District of Northern Sulawesi province.
Ruling on evidence presented during the 21-month trial, one of the longest criminal proceedings in Indonesian history, the court held that Buyat Bay is not polluted. It further found, as PTNMR contended, that the company was in compliance with all regulations and permits during its eight years of operations from 1996 to 2004.
"I'm thrilled that after nearly two and one-half years of false allegations, my name, and that of my fellow employees, has been cleared and our reputations restored," said President Director Richard Ness. "This is a victory for everyone who believes in justice and for the communities around Buyat Bay who can now be fully confident that Buyat Bay's waters are clean, that the fish are safe for consumption, and that their health has not been affected by our operations. I express my sincere thanks and gratitude for the support of my family, my company, and my fellow Newmont employees who stood by me and knew all along that the accusations against us were fabricated. I also express my deep respect for those Buyat Bay community members who spoke the truth in support of me."
Some of the evidence heard in the trial exonerating Mr. Ness and PTNMR included:
- Four independent physicians -- including government and university affiliated doctors -- who examined Buyat Bay residents testified under oath that they found no diseases resulting from PTNMR's operations;
- Dr. Jane Pangemanan, who leveled the initial allegations against PTNMR, recanted earlier charges and testified under oath that she did not diagnose any heavy metal related diseases in villagers;
- Tests conducted by the United Nations' World Health Organization, Indonesia's Ministry of the Environment, Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and Japan's National Institute for Minamata Disease all showed that Buyat Bay was not polluted; and,
- Five current and former government officials and regulators testified under oath that Newmont had all the appropriate operating permits and did not violate any of them.
"We could not be more pleased that this case was decided on the facts and evidence presented in court," said Newmont Chairman and CEO Wayne Murdy. "Anyone who followed the evidence presented in this case would have expected this result. It is the correct decision, and there is no factual or legal basis upon which to reasonably dispute this outcome."
Newmont Vice President of Asia Operations, Robert Gallagher, further encouraged an end to a Buyat Bay outcome driven by hidden agendas. "If anyone has any residual concern in regard to the condition of Buyat Bay, let that concern be addressed by pure science," said Gallagher. "The government and PTNMR have established the independent scientific panel that will monitor and report on Buyat Bay for almost another decade, and we are confident that it will confirm what we have always said: there is no pollution."
Immediately following the verdict, Ness told supporters, "I have lived in Indonesia for more than 25 years. This is my home, and I am delighted to see justice and truth prevail. The question remains, shouldn't the perpetrators of this hoax be brought to justice for the sake of the Buyat Bay communities who suffered at the hands of these people?"
More information about the case can be found at www.BuyatBayFacts.com along with a chronology of events at http://www.buyatbayfacts.com/what_happened/timeline.aspx.
Founded in 1921 and publicly traded on the NYSE since 1925, Newmont is one of the largest gold companies in the world. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the company employs approximately 14,000 people, the majority of whom work at Newmont's core operations in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, and Ghana. Newmont is also the only gold company listed in the S&P 500 index.
Newmont's industry-leading performance is reflected through high standards in environmental management, health and safety for its employees and creating value and opportunity for our host communities. Newmont's Batu Hijau mine has received the highest environmental designation awarded by the government of Indonesia for outstanding environmental stewardship.
Manado: Rubi Purnomo
Direct: 011.62.21.579.94600, Ext. 44657
Corp. HQ: Omar Jabara
Direct: 011.62.21.576.1444, Ext. 44816
SOURCE Newmont Mining Corporation