14 Nov 2020

Vale again hit by New Caledonia protests

9:38 am on 14 November 2020
New Caledonia nickel mine

New Caledonia nickel mine Photo: AFP

There have been more protests in New Caledonia over the planned sale of the Vale nickel plant to a new consortium, Prony Resources.

Opponents have again blocked road access to the plant in the south of the main island and attacked the ferry used to transport staff from Noumea to the plant at Goro.

Protesters also blocked access to the port of Noumea.

Local Kanak chiefs as well as pro-independence leaders have vowed to set up more road blocks next week to thwart the sale.

Vale said it won't be dictated by those who use intimidation and violence while the government of the Southern Province has also denounced the protest action.

The sale plan, which was announced last week, involves exclusive negotiations between Vale and Prony Resources, which have the backing of both the French government and the government of the Southern province.

Opponents want the plant to be sold to Sofinor of the Northern Province while Vale says the Prony Resources bid is the only one on offer.

Prony Resources is to be half-owned by New Caledonian interests and includes a 25-percent stake by a Swiss commodity trader Trafigura.

In September, Vale's planned sale to New Century Resources of Australia failed, prompting the Brazilian owner to warn of the site's closure if no buyer was found by the end of October.

The Vale plant is a key employer in the very south of New Caledonia's main island.

Protest in Noumea over planned sale of Vale nickel plant

Protest in Noumea over planned sale of Vale nickel plant Photo: supplied FB Instance Coutumière Autochtone de Négociation

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