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JAKARTA Dec 24 At least two people were
killed and eight wounded in clashes between protesters and
police during demonstrations over a planned gold mine in eastern
Indonesia, police said.
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the town of Bima in the
West Nusa Tenggara province on Sumbawa island, disrupting port
and ferry services.
The gold mining project is a joint venture between
Indonesia's PT Sumber Mineral Nusantara and Australian-listed
Arc Exploration Limited, according to the Arc
Exploration website (www.arcexploration.com.au).
The company said in its June quarterly report no exploration
work was possible in the quarter because of protests.
Women and children were among protesters who have barricaded
roads and the town's port since Monday and a police station and
a government office were burnt down, police spokesman Saud Usman
Nasution said in a statement.
Siti Maemunah, executive director of the Mining Advocacy
Network, said three people had been killed during the protests.
Footage on Indonesia's Metro TV showed police carrying batons
and firing warning shots towards protesters.
Bima residents fear mining by will threaten forest areas and
drain water resources, Indonesian media have reported. The
project has a concession area of 24,980 hectares.
The protest is the latest in a series of tensions in the
mining industry in Southeast Asia's biggest economy over land
rights and a push by workers for a greater share of profits.
In November, about 400 workers went on strike in a dispute
over working shifts at a gold and copper mine run by Newmont
Mining Corp's Indonesian unit in Batu Hijau in Nusa
The Bima project is about 230 km (140 miles) east of
Newmont's Batu Hijau copper and gold mine.
(Reporting by Karima Anjani and Hindra Liauw in Jakarta.)