5 Jan 2006

US gold mine denies polluting rivers in Indonesia's Papua

10:17 am on 5 January 2006

The US gold mining company Freeport has denied reports it's been polluting rivers near its giant Grasberg site in the Indonesian province of Papua.

The Freeport spokesman Siddharta Moersjid has told the newspaper, the Jakarta Post, that the company has never violated any environmental law during more than three decades of operations.

Mr Moersjid says government officials had agreed with company representatives as part of a Tailings Review Committee, and concluded that river disposal was the best available option.

The assistant to the deputy minister of environment, Rasio Ridho Sani, says his office wanted the company to shift its tailings onto land.

The New York Times newspaper recently reported that more than three months of investigation had found tons of mine waste had poisoned fish and river life far downriver.