29 Mar 2016

New Caledonia delays decision on nickel exports to China

3:42 pm on 29 March 2016

The New Caledonian government has approved continued nickel ore exports to Japan amid threats by truckers to block roads.

truck is parked behind a police vehicle outside the local government building as part of a protest in Noumea organised by ContraKmine, the union of mining contractors, calling on local authorities to overturn a decision on nickel exports to China on August 5, 2015.

A dump truck is parked outside the local government building in Noumea in August in protest at the government's refusal to allow nickel exports to China. Photo: AFP/ Fred Payet

The truckers had been pushing for exports to be increased to include China as the entire nickel sector is reeling from low commodity prices.

However, public radio said a decision on whether to ship ore to China had been put off for a week.

Earlier this month, the government of Philippe Germain admitted the context had changed and the government would re-examine demands to export low-grade ore to China.

Last August, the truck drivers blocked key access roads around Noumea for weeks over the nickel export dispute.

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