14 Sep 2015

Signs New Caledonia blockade could resume

7:40 pm on 14 September 2015

There are signs in New Caledonia that truck drivers, who protested last month about a dispute over nickel exports, are poised to restart their blockades.

Truck blockade lifted temporarily in New Caledonia.

A photo taken on August 19, 2015 in Noumea shows trucks blocking the Riviere Salee roundabout, as truck drivers blocked the different roundabouts leading to the city with 30-tonne trucks on the 15th day of protests against the government concerning the opening of a nickel ore export canal to China. Photo: AFP

In August, the drivers established blockades in and arround Noumea and other key access points in the territory over the government's policy to not approve exports of low grade ore to China after a decline in exports to Australia.

The drivers were aligned with small miners and the territory's veteran miner SLN who opposed the stance on the issue by the government's leading party, Caledonia Together.

Mediation efforts began in Noumea, late last month, after the president of the Caledonian Union, Daniel Goa, stepped in to mediate.

However talks have foundered and trucks have converged on the capital in anticipation of the collegial government meeting on the matter tomorrow.

The Caledonian Union appears to have come out against Caledonia Together on the issue, adding to the political pressure on the Philippe Germain-led government over the issue.

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