16 Aug 2018

Mediation call after New Caledonia mine closure

11:42 am on 16 August 2018

New Caledonia's environmentalist group Rheebu Nuu has called for mediation over this week's closure of the nickel mine in Kouaoua.

New Caledonia environmental group Rheebu Nuu

New Caledonia environmental group Rheebu Nuu Photo: FB Rheebu Nuu

The SLN nickel company closed its mining operations in Kouaoua indefinitely amid a blockade of the site by dozens of young people and after yet another arson attack on its installations.

Rheebu Nuu said an alternative needs to be found to the exploitation of ecologically important areas after the youth protesters called for a stop to the clearfelling of trees to expand mining.

Rheebu Nuu has denounced the scorched earth policy of SLN and accuses it of blackmailing the locals with job losses, which it said was unworthy for a multinational company.

It also called on New Caledonians to show sympathy for Kouaoua because for almost 70 years the town provided colossal wealth .

The SLN plant in Noumea.

The SLN plant in Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Rheebu Nuu said the French state and the northern province should initiate mediation.

The closure is expected to affect directly at least 400 jobs.

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