26 May 2020

Uncertainty clouds future of SLN mine in New Caledonia

4:16 pm on 26 May 2020

New Caledonia's biggest private employer says there is uncertainty over its mining site in Kouaoua because of last weekend's arson attacks.

The ore conveyor belt at the SLN nickel company's mine was set ablaze in two places, again disrupting production.

The conveyor belt at the Kouaoua mine.

The conveyor belt at the Kouaoua mine. Photo: SLN

An SLN spokesperson told local radio that neither the safety of its staff nor of the installations are assured to envisage continued operation.

Talks are reportedly scheduled all week amid concern in Kouaoua of the economic impact of the latest incident.

The conveyor belt is instrumental because it feeds nickel ore from the mine to the coast for shipping to the SLN smelter in Noumea.

Last month, two men were jailed for raiding and burning SLN staff quarters in Kouaoua during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Kouaoua site, which provides more than a third of SLN's ore, was closed for nearly three months in 2018 as a result of two blockades set up by a local group opposed to expanded mining.

SLN has been running at a loss over the last few years.


SLN Photo: supplied FB

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