The lifecycle of a mine can span decades and even generations. At Newmont, our work with the local communities begins with exploration and continues well after the mine has closed.
PT Newmont Minahasa Raya (PTNMR), our joint venture in Indonesia, provides one example of our efforts to improve economic and community welfare and create a lasting legacy well after our operations end.
In 1996, PTNMR began gold mining production at the Mesel Gold Mine in North Sulawesi. All mining and processing activity at Mesel ended in 2004; most closure activities were finished in 2006; and closure monitoring was completed in 2010. Today, PTNMR continues to fulfill a number of obligations under the Contract of Work (CoW) with the Government of Indonesia.
In 2012, PTNMR published a case study on our work with local governments and community representatives to develop, operate and close our mine in a manner that achieved sustainable development in Ratatotok, Buyat and other neighboring communities.
After conducting baseline studies and extensive stakeholder engagement, PTNMR developed three sustainable development objectives:
- Environmental – create a reclamation forest that provides future economic value and will be sustained after the mine closes;
- Economic – create a sustainable, new industry that will benefit the community after mine closure; and
- Social – create an independent and self-reliant community.
Turning Gold into Trees to Benefit Future Generations
In January 2011, PTNMR delivered nearly 450 hectares of reclaimed mine area to the Government of Indonesia. Today, this former mine area is a secondary forest with high-value species such as mahogany, teak, nyatoh and sengon. PTNMR is currently working with the government to further protect the forest and improve its status to that of a Botanical Garden. The reclamation forest could serve a long-term economic benefit and ecological function.
Reef Restoration to Sustain Livelihoods
PTNMR also funded the construction and monitoring of the largest artificial coral reef program undertaken by a private company, with more than 3,000 reef balls deployed in Buyat Bay and Totok Bay. PTNMR worked with the Tourism Office of South Minahasa in mapping existing coral reefs in both bays more than a decade ago. The objective was to slow reef loss, enhance fish stock and thereby sustain livelihoods of local fishermen for many years while also developing and promoting underwater tourism in the area.
Annual studies conducted from 2001 to 2009 show that the reef balls have become home to more than 80 fish and other marine species. As a result of this work, Buyat Bay has received international acclaim.
A Growing Tourism Industry
Buyat Bay and the surrounding areas are blessed with beautiful beaches and pristine reefs, and PTNMR helped the area develop an integrated tourism industry. In addition to building recreational facilities, PTNMR worked with the Southeast Minahasa tourism office to publish the Buyat Bay Diving Guidebook.
A New Factory to Support New and Traditional Jobs
Historically, area fishermen had to travel more than 20 km to buy the ice needed to keep their catches fresh. To help reduce the fishermen’s costs and improve efficiencies and product quality, PTNMR built a much-needed cold-storage and ice block factory in the location formerly used as the mine’s port.
A Foundation for Long-term Success
With the goal of mitigating social and economic challenges linked to the closure of the mine, PTNMR co-founded three community foundations designed to support social and economic development long after mine closure.
- The Minahasa Raya Foundation, created in partnership with the Government of Minahasa, supports programs aimed at improving education in Minahasa. To date, the Foundation has provided grants to hundreds of local students.
- The North Sulawesi Sustainability Foundation developed in cooperation with the Government of Indonesia, funds infrastructure, education, cooperatives, capacity building, agriculture, fishery and health care. Major projects completed include the construction of the Ratatotok-Buyat General Hospital – the most advanced and biggest hospital in Southeast Minahasa. The foundation also established community cooperatives in every village in Ratatotok and Buyat.
- The Ratatotok Buyat Sustainability Foundation, a collaboration with the Buyat and Ratatotok communities, grants scholarships, funds small enterprises and distributes microloans. The Foundation includes a “Smart House,” which was donated by the first lady of Indonesia, Mrs. Ani Bambang Yudhoyono. A Smart House provides remote villages with a facility that includes computers, television and books along with a tutor that teaches children and adults how to use the equipment.
Recent socioeconomic studies show that the local economy has continued to develop and improve after closure of the mine. For example, from 1994 to 2011:
- Average family incomes grew to a level that now exceeds expenses;
- The percent of permanent housing structures (versus semi-permanent wood and bamboo) significantly increased from 2 percent to more than 60 percent;
- The percent of those who completed high school grew from 1 percent to 21 percent;
- The number of health facilities grew from one local government clinic, two community centers and two posts for mother-child care to one general hospital, 10 local government clinics, 18 posts for mother-child care and three medical aides; and
- The number of schools increased from two junior high and one high school to eight kindergarten, 11 elementary, five junior high and three high schools.
PTNMR’s work with Buyat, Ratatotok and the surrounding communities is an example of Newmont’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. It also demonstrates how we engage and consult with the communities and governments that host our operations. Through this type of collaboration, Newmont aims to translate the value created during the mine operation into long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability for our host communities.