26 Feb 2014

Compensation to be paid over major acid spill in New Caledonia

2:40 pm on 26 February 2014

Five New Caledonian environmental groups have won nearly half a million US dollars in compensation from the Vale nickel company over a major acid spill at its plant five years ago.

The court of appeal in Noumea determined the sum after the groups last year demanded Vale pay 7.8 million US dollars for the damage.

The groups took the action after considering the original fine was too insignificant and insisting the company needed to be hit in the pocket.

They calculated the demanded sum as being the equivalent of one Pacific franc for every square centimetre affected by the spill.

Vale is yet to react to the court ruling.

Over the years, there have been several incidents at the Vale plant, the latest dating back to November when a burst effluent pipe through a World Heritage lagoon closed the plant for several weeks.