3 Apr 2006

New Caledonia nickel plant construction stopped indefinitely stopped amid vandalism

2:25 pm on 3 April 2006

The Goro Nickel company in New Caledonia has stopped operations after vandalism on a massive scale over the weekend.

It is the biggest industrial enterprise under construction in the South Pacific with a planned investment of well beyond two billion US dollars.

An unidentified number of Kanak activists opposed to the nickel project have blocked roads and in clashes two policemen are reported injured.

A Goro Nickel company spokesperson, Catherine Guillaume, says police are still breaking up blockades.

"We have not finished yet to evaluate all the damages but we can tell you now it will be more than 100 million Pacific francs - two big excavators, more ten big mine trucks, pipes that are very expensive, lots of material, lots of equipment have been destroyed. We don't know exactly how much it will cost but in terms of material damage it is very, very high."