“Newmont Secures Permit to Send Mining Waste Out to Sea
By Fidelis E. Satriastanti
The company’s previous permit to channel its tailing to the bottom of the sea off its gold mine in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which had been issued in 2002, expired on Sunday.
“There are some stricter regulations for them to follow, such as the limitation of waste volume dumped per year, the levels of materials, and the company is under obligation to conduct toxicology tests on local people and geo-hydrologic tests,” said Masnellyarti Hilman, deputy of toxic waste management.
The mining company’s spokesman confirmed the deal. “We have received a tailing placement permit renewal for a period of five years,” spokesman Rubi Purnomo told the Jakarta Globe by text message.
He said that the miner would have to meet stricter monitoring requirements, but gave no additional details.
Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said on Thursday that the company was allowed to dump maximum 51 million metric tons of mining waste per year, or a daily average of 140,000 tons.
The agreement also stipulates that if there were an increase in production, the company would be allowed to dump 54 million tons per year or 148,000 tons per day. However, the increased output would have to be reported to the Environment Ministry.
In addition, the company, the local unit of the US-based organization, is required to assess the ecological state of the southern and western coastal areas of West Sumbawa annually, increase monitoring quality and gauge health conditions that include heavy metal contamination in people living near the project.
Meanwhile, Pius Ginting, a campaigner at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, said that the ministry had overstepped its jurisdiction by issuing the extension.
“Based on the environmental law and mining law, permits are given in accordance to areas of jurisdictions. If it concerns the district, the permit is issued by the district chief; if it is provincial, it is given by governor; and if it involves provinces then it is given by the ministry,” said Pius. The ministry issuing a permit for a district level operations could be considered against the law, he said.
He said that the West Sumbawa district head had already issued decision to ban the company’s tailing activities to Senunu Bay last month.”
(Quelle: The Jakarta Globe.)