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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 07:32 GMT
Attack on Indonesia mining camp
By Tim Johnston
BBC, Jakarta

One of the world's largest gold producers, US company Newmont, has suspended work at an Indonesian site after an attack on a workers' camp.

A group of about 50 unidentified people razed the camp on the island of Sumbawa on Sunday.

Nobody was injured in the incident as operators were warned of the attack and evacuated the camp's 200 residents.

The attack comes against a background of rising anger at Western mining and energy interests in Indonesia.

Last week four security officers were killed in the province of Papua by protesters demanding the closure of another gold mine owned by US giant Freeport McMoRan.

There have also been demonstrations in Java against a decision to make the American Exxon Mobil company the operator of an oil and gas field owned jointly with Indonesia's state energy company.

The government is having to walk a fine line between popular national discontent and reassuring vital foreign investors that their assets are safe in Indonesia.

They want to be seen to be responsive to popular concerns but unilaterally renegotiating contracts and licences with major international companies is likely to further frighten already nervous foreign investors.

Foreign investment is seen as the key element in reviving Indonesia's weakened economy.

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