West Nusa Tenggara Governor Asks for Royalties
Tuesday, 14 November, 2006 | 11:43 WIB

Tempo Interactive, MAtaram: The West Nusa Tenggara Governor Lalu Serinata asked PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara to add on the royalties for the province because what is deposited so far is only two percent as stated in the working contract. “Up to four percent at the minimum,” he said yesterday (13/11).

Serinata conveyed the request after a rally by around 500 residents of Ropang Village, Jereweh Subdistrict set fire to 20 buildings in Newmont base camp, Sunday (10/11). Exploration activity of Elang mine was halted until the condition returned to normal. Serinata expects the royalty addition can minimize disturbances to the mining operation.

According to him, the request is natural because exploration in Elang and Rinti are new contracts. He said that in new contracts, regencies and provincial governments are authorized to also determine the royalties.

Serinata acknowledged he has been long fighting for royalties, since he became Chairperson of West Nusa Tenggara Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD). However his efforts were often hampered by the attitude of the Mining Department and the Finance Department which set royalties without involving the West Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government.

He said that the small royalties are worsened by the central government which is slow in distributing mining profit to regions. “The delay can take up to six months. A region’s right should be distributed fast,” said spokesperson of PT Newmont Nusa Tengara, Serinata. Kasan Mulyono. He said royalty matters are more appropriate to be discussed by the central government and Newmont’s management. According to him, what is clear is Newmont’s contribution to West Nusa Tenggara has reached Rp71.5 billion. This amount materializes in several projects such as bridges, highways, drainage, clean water management, waste management, agriculture, irrigation construction and party management.

Regarding the burning of buildings, in addition to shutting down its mining activity temporarily, PT Newmont evacuated 135 of its workers. Most of them are Ropang residents.

Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar said the government is identifying the cases of environmental destruction. Deputy of Pollution Control at the Environment Ministry . Gempur Adnan said currently there is already tight security at Newmont’s base camp.

Supriyanto Khafid and Djatmiko
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