Ted Butler: With silver, start with the facts and then apply your imagination

Section:

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 15, 2005

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050215/newmont_mining_indonesia_2.html

DENVER -- The Indonesian doctor who accused Newmont Mining Corp. of
poisoning villagers near its Minahasa gold mine there has retracted
her allegations.

Dr. Jane Pangemanan sent a letter to Indonesian police earlier this
month saying her complaints lodged against Newmont that claimed the
company's mine waste disposal had caused diseases among local
villagers were "premature."

"The accusations I made ... claiming that the tailings produced by
(Newmont's Indonesian subsidiary) caused the disease suffered by some
residents of Buyat Pantai village were premature because there was
never any scientific, comprehensive, detailed and integrated proof,"
Pangemanan wrote in a letter to police. Dow Jones got a copy of the
letter from Newmont.

Pangemanan said she was retracting her allegations "without any
coercion, pressure or threat from any party."

Denver-based Newmont, the world's largest gold producer, had filed a
defamation suit against Pangemanan, which the company has dropped as
result of her retraction, Newmont spokesman Doug Hock said.

He said no money was involved in Newmont's defamation settlement with
Pangemanan.

Newmont has been embroiled in months of controversy over its Minahasa
mine on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Indonesian authorities have accused Newmont's Indonesian unit, PT
Newmont Minahasa Raya, of dumping mercury and arsenic into nearby
Buyat Bay, causing residents to develop tumors and skin diseases.
Newmont has repeatedly denied the charges.

An attorney for Newmont's Indonesian unit, PT Newmont Minahasa Raya,
has demanded that the police investigation into the alleged pollution
at Buyat Bay be closed and all charges be dropped.

"We believe that the police may have been misled," Newmont lawyer
Luhut Pangaribuan said in a prepared statement. "In light of this new
development, the police have an excellent opportunity to re-examine
their action."

Pangemanan's original complaint launched the pollution investigation,
which landed five Newmont executives in a Jakarta jail for a month
last fall. Indonesian officials have since said that the jailings
were illegal, although the executives still are banned from leaving
the country, Hock said.

Pangemanan was also a key figure in a $543 million civil suit filed
against Newmont by three villagers. The suit was later dropped when
the lawyer for villagers -- who was facing a defamation lawsuit by
Newmont -- said they had no evidence to back up their claims.

A third person that Newmont sued for defamation, Rignolda Djamaludin,
has not retracted his claims that Newmont had caused diseases from
its mine wastes and even killed some Buyat Bay villagers. Rignolda
couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.
Pangemanan's complaint and the civil suit comprised much of the basis
for the police investigation, Hock said.

"The two foundations of this whole investigation have now fallen
away," Hock said.

"More importantly, all the studies to date have shown that the
operation has had no impact on people or the water or the fish at
Buyat Bay," he said.

Newmont stopped mining at the Minahasa site about two years ago when
the gold deposits were exhausted, but continued to process ore until
August. The company plans to close the facility entirely within three
years, after a skeleton staff finishes reclaiming land disturbed by
the open-pit mine.

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