Talks held to resolve dispute over New Caledonia mine

The SLN plant in Noumea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

NOUMEA (RNZ PACIFIC) – Talks have been held in the north of New Caledonia to resolve the disputes which led to this week’s closure of the nickel mine in Kouaoua.

The SLN nickel company closed its mining operations indefinitely amid a blockade of the site by dozens of young people and after another arson attack on its installations.

A meeting has now been held in Kone involving the French government, the New Caledonian government, the Kouaoua local administration and SLN.

The dispute includes disagreements between customary leaders who agreed to expanded mining and young locals who blocked access to the site to stop to the clearfelling of trees.

A French official Marie-Paule Tourte-Trolue told the public broadcaster that over the next few days attempts would be made to involve the young protesters in the talks.

The mine closure threatens about 400 jobs.

Political parties have called for those responsible for the damage caused to SLN’s installations to be identified and punished.

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