Coastal communities and fisheries

Down to Earth No.79, November 2008


Following years of opposition from environmental and human rights groups, BHP Billiton has decided not to go ahead with a proposed nickel mining project on Gag Island, West Papua. BHP Billiton has reportedly invested US$75 million in developing this project over the last decade or more.


The decision to pull out of the Gag Island nickel project follows closely two company annual general meetings in the UK and Australia.

Down to Earth No. 76-77 May 2008

Another year, another set of record profits from West Papua's mineral resources.

The Westminster conference centre just alongside the UK's Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey seem a long way away from the frontier town of Timika or, for that matter, the prawn fisherfolk of Bintuni Bay in West Papua. However, each year this is the scene of the Annual General Meeting of Rio Tinto PLC, a 40% joint venture stakeholder in the expanded Grasberg mine in the highlands of West Papua.

Down to Earth No. 73, May 2007


The decision of a North Sulawesi court to find the US-based mining company, Newmont, not guilty of polluting the environment is a huge disappointment for NGOs and communities who have been struggling for years to hold this multinational gold mining company to account.


The Manado Court in North Sulawesi - the province where the now-closed Ratatotok gold mine was located - came up with its verdict on April 24th.

Down to Earth No. 72 March 2007

The Toka Tindung gold mine project is now in doubt after strong opposition to Meares Soputan Mining's plans to build an open pit gold mine in a sensitive coastal area and dump mine waste into Rinondoran Bay.

A major blow came when an environmental hearing in August 2006 forced the company to alter its plans to instead use the more expensive option of disposal of tailings on land.

Down to Earth No. 71, November 2006


Thousands of people have been forced from their homes since May 29th, when hot mud started spurting from the ground near a gas exploration well in Sidoardjo, East Java. Over the following weeks, villages were submerged, farmland was ruined, businesses and schools closed and livelihoods lost, as the mud inundated the surrounding area. The government has done little to help, although the mud continues to flow, perhaps because the company responsible was owned by a senior member of the government.

Down to Earth No. 71, November 2006


As Indonesia's first 'stand alone' wood chip mill neared completion on Pulau Laut, campaigners from Down to Earth and WALHI South Kalimantan went to Europe to lobby companies who are supporting this unsustainable venture.

Down to Earth No. 70, August 2006

Reclamation activities in Sulawesi by Newmont Minahasa Raya, the gold mining company majority-owned by US-based Newmont Mining Corp, are not dealing with the huge amounts of waste dumped in the sea.