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Indonesia appeals acquittal on Newmont Mining's charges of polluting bay

Prosecutors in Indonesia plan to appeal the acquittal on Newmont Mining Corp's charges of polluting a bay off Sulawesi Island.

A judge in Manado, Indonesia, dismissed the case against Denver-based Newmont and executive Richard Ness last month, ruling that evidence presented at the trial proved waste rock dumped into Buyat Bay by the company's now-defunct mine did not exceed government standards.

The prosecutors informed Newmont of their intent to appeal Monday, reaffirming a statement they made after the verdict was issued. They have 14 days to detail grounds for their appeal, Newmont spokesman Omar Jabara said.

Authorities alleged the rock deposited into Buyat Bay by Newmont and executive Richard Ness, president-director of Newmont's local subsidiary, exceeded toxic standards outlined in a 2000 permit and caused some villagers to become ill.

A police report showed mercury and arsenic levels in the bay were higher than national standards, but tests by the World Health Organization, government agencies and several independent groups found that pollutants in the water were within normal limits.

Newmont began operations in Sulawesi in 1996 and stopped mining in 2002 after extracting all the gold it could. It continued processing ore until 2004 when the mine was permanently shut.

Last year, the company reached a $30 million settlement with Indonesia's government to end a separate civil suit over the pollution allegation with the money to be used in part for community development.

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