10 Aug 2018

No end in sight for New Caledonia nickel protest

12:31 pm on 10 August 2018

There is no end in sight to a protest in the north of New Caledonia which has paralysed the nickel mine at Kouaoua.

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Media reports said between 40 and 60, mainly young people, keep blocking access to the site, which is a source of ore for the SLN nickel company.

The protest was triggered earlier this week by the felling of trees to expand the mining operations.

The SLN mining company had reportedly been given approval by the customary authorities, but the protestors have called for mining to stop to preserve the environment.

The blockade has coincided with another arson attack on the mine'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.

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