10 Apr 2007

New Caledonian researcher warns of biodiversity loss because of mining

3:26 pm on 10 April 2007

A researcher in New Caledonia is calling for a major independent study into the environmental effects of mining in the territory amid his prediction of a possible disaster to the area's biodiversity.

In an open letter, the Noumea-based scientist with the French IRD institute, Dr Bertrand Richer de Forges, says no significant studies have been made and up to one hundred endemic species are threatened and may disappear as a result of the mining operations.

Dr Richer de Forges says there seems to be a consensus among mining operators, authorities and research organisations to be silent about the situation.

But an IRD spokesperson, Mina Vilayleck, denies this, saying there are ongoing studies into the effects of the mining operations.

"It concerns regarding the mine sites only between twenty and thirty species that are threatened by the mining exploitations. And regarding these specific species, there were guidelines produced by botanical teams by the IRD to preserve them. 19"

IRD spokesperson, Mina Vilayleck.