Vale evacuates New Caledonia mine after protests

Vale said today that its Nouvelle-Calédonie S.A.S. (New Caledonia) operations have been evacuated following a night of protests at and near the site by independence activists in New Caledonia.

“The plant is currently under the protection of the Gendarmes (military forces) and operations have been halted until safe work and community conditions prevail. Thanks to the exceptional commitment of our employees and Gendarmes, there were no injuries, no environmental damage and no industrial accidents. The operations are being shut down in a safe and controlled manner,” said the company in a statement.

Social media pictures show fires, riot police and widespread protest in New Caledonia.

Earlier in the month, Vale signed a binding put option agreement for the sale of its ownership interest in the mine. Sale of the mine is tied up in independence movement with factions preferring the mine’s sales to a rival bidder.

According to Nickel 97, Goro is one of the largest nickel reserves in New Caledonia, which produces 25% of world nickel reserves.

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