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Global Polluter Newmont Has Locked Up Most Acreage of Taxpayers' Lands for Its Mining

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The international mining giant, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp., is under fire for dangerously polluting Indonesian communities in violation of US environmental standards. Now, an Environmental Working Group (EWG) search of US government electronic records it has posted on its web site (www.ewg.org/mining/) shows the company holds more acres of mining claims on Western public land than any other metal mining company. Newmont holds 347,458 acres of claims in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington.

According to recent press accounts, the internal memo, written in 2001 by Newmont's Lawrence T. Kurlander, then a senior vice president and chief administrative officer, informed Kurlander’s senior colleagues that Newmont had failed to follow U.S. Environmental standards in Peru, Uzbekistan and Indonesia despite a company pledge to uphold the standards. Indonesian officials intend to prosecute Newmont for mining pollution.

Newmont’s pollution is not limited to foreign countries. According to the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory database for 2002, the most recent year for which data are available, Newmont owned three of the top ten most polluting industrial facilities in the United States. Newmont’s Twin Creeks Mine in Humboldt, Nevada, was ranked number two, with more than 291 million pounds of toxic releases. The Lone Tree Mine, also in Humboldt, was ranked number six with more than 58 million pounds of toxic releases. And Newmont’s Carlin South Area, near Eureka, Nevada, was ranked seventh, with more than 43 million pounds of toxic releases. The toxic releases included mercury (the pollutant at issue in Indonesia), lead and arsenic.