17 Sep 2018

Elder's death overshadows New Caledonia mine talks

5:09 am on 17 September 2018

Kouaoua. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Gunnar Ries

Talks in New Caledonia aimed at resolving a protracted mining dispute have been overshadowed by the death of an elder attending the meeting.

The man died of a suspected heart attack after the meeting had been wrapped up in Kouaoua, where the nickel mine run by SLN has been shut for over a month.

A local committee reportedly agreed to restart some of the operations which SLN suspended for security reasons in the face of a blockade.

A group of mainly young locals took the action to stop the felling of endemic trees.

A fresh attempt is now expected to be made to organise a meeting with the protesters in the hope that mining can restart.

The closure of the Kouaoua site has affected hundreds of people, with dozens of them at risk of being laid off permanently.

Reports say SLN has lost $US1.4 million as result of the Kouaoua dispute.