Protecting Rappahannock's rivers, streams and soil: Signs of progress, but work remains

Environmental agencies, experts, nonprofits and volunteers have been largely successful in keeping Rappahannock’s streams and soils clean and healthy, which preserves the county’s rural and agricultural character. But sustained efforts will be needed to ensure its treasured natural resources continue to benefit the local community as well as the millions of people who live downriver.

This Ohio Paint Production Experiment Creates Art — and Potentially Jobs — From Polluted Mine Sites

On a soggy autumn day in late October, a group of university students stood by the edge of an orange-tinted creek in the southeast Ohio village of Corning, a place built during coal mining’s boom days and now struggling amid a loss of jobs and population. As the group listened, watershed specialist Michelle Shively explained a plan to make the water here run clear: take the orange sludge and turn it into paint.

Freeport Put $12 Billion Into a Giant Mine; Now Indonesia Is Squeezing It Out

JAKARTA—Freeport-McMoRan Inc.’s standoff with Indonesia over the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine is entering a new phase, as the company scales back operations while trying to force a resolution to the dispute. Last month, the U.S. miner threatened to take Indonesia to arbitration, saying new rules the country imposed on miners in January violated the terms of an operating agreement struck in 1991 that runs through 2021.

Freeport-McMoRan Heads Toward Showdown With Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia—Freeport-McMoRan Inc., one of the world’s biggest copper miners, is heading toward a showdown with the Indonesian government that is threatening global supply of the metal and roiling the markets. The Arizona-based company, whose majority-owned Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia is the world’s second largest, on Monday said it wouldn’t accept terms of a deal with the government that would allow it to resume shipments of copper concentrate that have been halted since Jan. 12.

Indonesia Fights Volcanic Risk to Air Travel

BALI—Indonesia is taking steps to curb disruptions to air travel after a series of volcanic eruptions near popular tourist destinations sparked havoc in this fast-growing air travel market. Volcanic eruptions in 2015 shut airports in parts of Indonesia’s vast archipelago, stranding tens of thousands of passengers, forcing the postponement of an international family-planning conference and costing local industry tens of millions of dollars. The events jolted a country that sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, with among the world’s highest number of active volcanoes, 139, and its most life-threatening ones due to their numbers, power and proximity to people. These factors make Indonesia highly prone to air-travel disturbances. But with limited monitoring resources, the country has long prioritized protecting people over planes.

Indonesia Revises Mining Regulations

JAKARTA—Indonesia issued significant new mining rules Thursday that will relax a controversial ban on exports of nickel ore and bauxite and extend exports for mineral concentrates. The revisions to an earlier regulation will allow miners to export as long as they show progress toward building smelters in a five-year period. Investors and analysts had expected Indonesia to continue allowing exports of mineral concentrates, but the government surprised markets by allowing limited amounts of nickel ore and bauxite.

Indonesia Tries New Tactics to Douse Annual Firestorms

DUMAI, Indonesia—Late last month, a fire patrol here was hard at work battling small blazes on the dried-out bogs that make eastern Sumatra island infamous as a major source of Southeast Asia’s perennial, choking haze. Members of the local fire brigade and a soldier together with young volunteers sucked water from a nearby canal with a hose. For about an hour, they moved across the scrubland, tackling flames that popped up even before the ones they were fighting were extinguished. They had been at it for weeks.

Foreign Miners Pull Up Stakes in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia—When Newmont Mining Corp. began exploring for gold in Indonesia in the 1980s, the country’s wealth of untapped resources was seen as the Colorado-based miner’s ticket to the big leagues. The Batu Hijau copper and gold mine in eastern Indonesia was one of the largest undeveloped deposits in the world, and Newmont’s billion-dollar investment put it on the path to becoming the world’s No. 2 gold miner by output.

Indonesia Comes Up Short in $1 Billion Bid to Save Forests

JAKARTA—Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to renew a ban on new licenses to log primary forest and peat land, in response to pressure to do more to help combat deforestation and reduce carbon emissions. The moratorium, never intended as a comprehensive solution to the problem, hasn’t rolled back deforestation since it was implemented in 2011 under a deal with Norway, which promised to pay $1 billion if Indonesia took action to protect its dwindling forests. The results have been less than hoped for, and Indonesia has received only about $50 million from Norway. Norway’s prime minister recently urged Mr. Widodo to pick up the pace.

Indonesia Loses ‘Connector’ at Freeport-McMoRan

For decades, James R. Moffett guided the fortunes of the U.S.’s biggest mining company, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., in the crucial but sometimes tricky Indonesian marketplace. The sudden resignation of Mr. Moffett as Freeport’s executive chairman, announced Monday, could throw a wrench into negotiations with the Indonesian government over the fate of one of Freeport’s—and Indonesia’s—biggest mines, industry analysts say.

Flooding Tests Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo

JAKARTA, Indonesia — At the Marunda housing projects in North Jakarta, weeds push up through cracks in concrete foundations and grimy facades beg for paint. The rent-subsidized apartments have little access to public transportation, and drainage ditches that ring each building smell of sewage. It seems unlikely that people would line up to live here. But since last month, when the worst flooding in six years hit Jakarta, killing at least 40 people and displacing tens of thousands, occupancy at Marunda has jumped.
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