An Australian gold mining exploration company said it had halted activities at a project in Indonesia, after a violent protest at a nearby port last week that left two people dead. Two men were killed and about 20 injured on December 24 when police opened fire on hundreds of anti-mining demonstrators who for several days had been occupying Sape port on the island of Sumbawa. Arc Exploration Limited (ARX), whose Bima exploration licence covers some 250 square kilometres of the island, said demonstrators had stated they wanted its exploration rights revoked. \"While ARX remains in full compliance with all legal, regulatory and licence requirements, the company has halted exploration activities at its Bima Project until the situation is resolved,\" it said in a statement. Arc managing director John Carlile said the company \"regrets the loss of life and injury that was suffered during the events of 24 December.\" \"ARX\'s activities and staff have no connection with the port of Sape, and any suggestion that ARX was involved with Saturday\'s events at Sape is incorrect,\" he said. Australia\'s foreign office said it was aware of the shootings. \"The Australian government is always concerned to see loss of life and injury,\" a foreign office spokeswoman told AFP. \"We note that Indonesian authorities have ordered an investigation into the incident,\" she added. Arc said no gold mine was being built and the firm\'s work at Bima was low-level, involving a small number of geologists doing field work such as soil sampling. \"Contrary to some reports, there is no gold mine existing or under construction, nor is any gold mine presently contemplated,\" Carlile said. \"ARX is an exploration company and does not undertake mining.\" Arc said that after receiving positive responses from local communities and authorities, limited field work had recently resumed at Bima, some nine months after activities were put on hold due to earlier civil disturbances. The Sape port is the main gateway to Flores, a neighbouring island in eastern Indonesia.