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Newmont

Batu Hijau processing plant in Nusa Tenggara.

Newmont – shifting perceptions, 2005 – 2012

The PR Challenge:
A US leading mining company with mining interests in Batu Hijau, Nusa Tenggara Barat and in Minahasa, North Sulawesi was unexpectedly faced with a hostile press and allegations against it in its Buyat Bay operations in North Sulawesi, Indonesia in July of 2005. In Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi Newmont was sued by a non governmental organization, and In Jakarta, the case against Newmont was brought by the Ministry of the Environment who claimed tailings from the company's Minahasa Raya mine polluted the pristine Buyat Bay contaminating local fish stocks and causing nearby villagers to become seriously ill.
The PR Program:
IM&A was hired to help improve the effectiveness of their media and stakeholder communication strategy. After an intensive public relations work, in effect, the media had shown a more balanced approach in reporting the case. IM&A’s communication strategy of disseminating detailed information from credible sources, written in non technical terms, and also which involved proactive contacts and seminars with the media had caused the general perception toward Newmont in the Buyat Bay case to considerably shift from condemning with a “guilty verdict” to a softer tone of “ambiguous and doubtful”. Ultimately the media began to question the motive of the police, the NGO and Ministry of Environment in taking Newmont to court when independent and credible international surveys results show no existing pollution from tailings.
The Results:
IM&A counseled Newmont since the outbreak of the crisis, through the period of managing the crisis, up to the time when the court cases against Newmont were resolved, when The Ministry of Environment dropped its suit against Newmont and made an out of court settlement. The case in Manado was also won by Newmont.

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