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Indonesian court allows mining in protected forests

[JURIST] Indonesia's highest court Thursday rejected a challenge from environmental groups and upheld a law enabling 13 mining companies to operate in protected forests. The Constitutional Court ruled that the law did not violate the 1945 constitution [text] and that the government must honor commitments to the companies [Dow Jones Newswires report]. Such mining was banned in 1999 but in 2004 a law allowed companies with existing contracts to continue operations. That law was upheld in Thursday's ruling. AP has more. Meanwhile, Indonesia has affirmed its environmental claim against Newmont Mining Corporation [corporate website; JURIST report], a US company it alleges polluted a local bay. The government filed a $133 million civil suit against Newmont, which denies the charges [press release]. Conflicting test results have delayed the trial, and a settlement is now being considered [AP report].

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