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New Caledonia: Sabotaging the Mining Industry (Oceania)

On Wednesday, June 27th, 2018, the managers of Société Le Nickel (SLN), a subsidiary of the French company Eramet in New Caledonia, publicly complained about repeated sabotage targeting nickel mining and transportation infrastructure.

The sabotages have all been targeting an 11km conveyor that is used to transport the nickel ore from the deposit to the Kouaoua site (north-east of Grande-Terre) at the seaside, where around 200 people are directly employed. On June 23rd, during the last arson attack against this ‘treadmill’ that is nicknamed The Serpent, a stolen vehicle was placed under the infrastructure and then set on fire.

The financial cost related to these multiple sabotages amounts to 150 million CFP francs (1.25 million euros) for the company.

For the time being, SLN “does not plan to close its Kouaoua center”, from which about 600,000 of the three million tonnes of ore that the company refines at its Noumea plant are extracted each year.

Until now, only one person has been arrested for these serial sabotages, a 31 year old man who was sentenced on June the 19th to 18 months in prison without parole. At the court case he had questioned “pollution” and the “promises” of public facilities that were not kept by SLN.

In New Caledonia, attacks against mining companies do not end in truces. Recently SLN suffered major damage not only to its Kouaoua site, but also at Thio during the transition to the year 2018. Other mining companies, such as Groupe Ballande, lost 5 vehicles and a workshop to the flames in Canala in early January 2018.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 at 10:29 am and is filed under Direct Action.