25 Jan 2006

Kanak activist urges New Caledonian government to test for asbestos

8:14 pm on 25 January 2006

A Kanak activist, Jacques Boengkih, says the New Caledonian government should carry out an independent study into the causes of asbestos related illnesses, which affect many Kanak communities.

This comes after the mining company, Goro Nickel, tested some serpentine rocks on its asbestos content during the construction of a road to a mine.

The rock may contain and release asbestos if crushed, but the study revealed the rocks are safe.

But Mr Boengkih says an independent institution should do the tests.

"We cannot trust whatever Goro nickel would say about the asbestos."

The activist says asbestos can also be found near or in the nickel ores not just in serpentine tested by the company.