30 Aug 2018

SLN mining expansion suspended in New Caledonia

3:23 pm on 30 August 2018

Reports from New Caledonia say the government of the northern province has ordered the suspension of work aimed at opening a new mine at the Kouaoua site.

All mining operations in Kouaoua were halted earlier this month after an arson attack on the installations and amid a blockade by young people opposed to expanded mining.

The SLN plant in Noumea.

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

The public broadcaster reported the northern province president Paul Neaoutyine has now signed an order withdrawing the authorisation for further mining.

The SLN mining company had earlier been given the consent by local elders to expand mining at Kouaoua which supplies about 600,000 tonnes of ore a year to the SLN smelter in Noumea.

However, dozens of mainly young locals want the expansion to be stopped.

With the help of a French mediator, a first round of talks have been held this week between the elders and the protesters.

Hundreds of people have been affected by the shutdown.

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