Barry Downs and Bill Matlack on the foreign exchange market

Section:

By The Associated Press
Friday, December 31, 2004

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/041231/newmont_indonesia_4.html

DENVER -- Newmont Mining Corp. wants to bar
shareholders from voting on a proposal that would
require a company review of waste disposal
programs in Indonesia, where it is accused of
poisoning villagers.

Attorneys for the Denver-based company, the
world's largest gold producer, made the request to
federal regulators last week, saying the company
should be allowed to exclude the proposal from
a shareholder vote at its 2005 annual meeting.

Under the proposal, Newmont would have to evaluate
its disposal programs in Indonesia and determine the
degree of potential environmental and public-health
risks from its mining operations.

The proposal was sponsored by the Office of the
Comptroller of New York City on behalf of several
pension funds representing New York employees,
teachers, firefighters, and police.

In response, Newmont attorneys said in a letter to
the Securities and Exchange Commission that the
company already has accomplished what the
proposal asks.

Last week, the company admitted it had released
17 tons of waste mercury into the air and 16 tons
into the water over five years, though it said the
toxic releases were far below Indonesian
emissions standards.

"We were well below any Indonesian standards and
well below any U.S. Environmental Protection
standards," Wayne Murdy, the company's chief
executive officer, said last week in a telephone
interview with the Associated Press. "We have an
excellent environmental record worldwide."

However, an EPA staff member called the release
of 33 tons of mercury into the air and water over
several years at the gold mine in central Indonesia
"a major concern."

A member of another big pension fund, TIAA-CREF,
is seeking a vote in hopes of barring investment in
gold-mining companies because of environmental
and social impacts.

Newmont has been embroiled in a six-month legal
battle over pollution allegations.

Indonesian authorities have accused its local
subsidiary, Newmont Minahasa Raya, of dumping
heavy metals into Buyat Bay on Sulawesi island,
causing residents to develop skin diseases and
tumors. Five executives from the company are
expected to go on trial in Indonesia in early 2005.

Tests on the bay have produced conflicting results
and villagers this week dropped a $543 million lawsuit
against Newmont Minahasa Raya.

Newmont stopped mining two years ago at the
Sulawesi site, but kept processing ore there until
Aug. 31, 2004.

Newmont Mining closed down 13 cents a share at
$44.41 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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