9 Aug 2018

More tension at New Caledonian nickel company

11:24 am on 9 August 2018

There is fresh tension at a mining site of the SLN nickel company in the north of New Caledonia.

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

According to local meda reports, access to the mine at Kouaoua is being blocked by about 40 people opposed to expanded exploitation despite its approval by the provincial government.

The reports said they want the mine to be closed in order to protect the environment after the mining company felled more trees.

This comes after another arson attack on Kouaoua's conveyor belt system which feeds nickel ore to the coast for shipping to the SLN smelter in Noumea.

It's the eighth such attack in two years.

Unions have expressed concern at the growing vandalism at the territory's mining sites, saying in recent months there have been break-ins, theft of vehicles and repeated attacks at Kouaoua.

Talks are underway between the protestors, the customary Kanak leaders, local administrations and SLN.

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