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US mining company, executive facing Indonesian trial for water pollution

[JURIST] An Indonesian court Tuesday rejected a request to drop a pollution case against US gold mining company Newmont Mining [US corporate website; Indonesian website] and the company's local subsidiary president director Richard Ness. Ness, from Ada, MN, will stand trial on October 7 and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $68,000 fine if convicted of dumping mercury and arsenic containing pollutants into Buyat Bay on Sulawesi Island. Although the government claims the pollutants depleted fishing stocks and caused villagers to develop skin diseases and other illnesses, the World Health Organization [official website] and an initial Environment Ministry report found the bay to be unpolluted. The trial is of interest to potential foreign investors who have expressed anxiety regarding the nation's legal system [BBC report]. The company is also facing a $133.6 million civil suit on the claim. AP has more. Newmont has a press release on Tuesday's decision.

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