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Indonesian court dismisses civil suit against US mining company

[JURIST] The South Jakarta District Court Tuesday dropped a case brought by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment [official website] against the Newmont Mining Corporation [corporate website; JURIST news archive], the Indonesian subsidiary of a Denver-based company, saying the case should be settled through international arbitration or conciliation. The Indonesian government, which still may appeal the case, filed the $133.4 million civil suit in July [JURIST report], alleging the company dumped waste materials into Buyat Bay on Sulawesi Island, sickening villagers living nearby. Newmont, which is the world's largest gold producer, maintains the investigation was flawed and no one was harmed. The court's dismissal of the civil case does not impact related criminal charges filed against Newmont's top local executive [JURIST report], American Richard Ness, who faces up to ten years in prison if convicted. The trial is being monitored by potential foreign investors who have expressed anxiety regarding Indonesia's legal system [BBC report] and by environmentalists who question whether the government will actually punish the company. AP has more.

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