20 Aug 2018

Key New Caledonia mine shut for third week

4:20 pm on 20 August 2018

The Kouaoua nickel mining site in New Caledonia remains closed for a third week amid calls to protect endemic oak trees.

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Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The SLN mining company closed the site last week following a fire at its installations and amid a blockade by dozens of people opposed to expanded mining.

The group told the news site Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes that it did not want the mine's closure because Kouaoua's livelihood depends on it.

They were opposed to the cutting of more oak trees, however, despite customary leaders approving it.

SLN told the news site that it wanted to cut only 700 of the more than 33,000 trees.

The Kouaoua mine produces 600,000 tonnes of ore a year which is shipped to the Noumea's SLN smelter.