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.
Affrontements ce matin dans les rues de Nouméa pour l’usine du sud #NouvelleCaledonie
Crédit photo: Esteban Gardes pic.twitter.com/D1r2oBh91J
— L’éxilé (@L_exile988) December 7, 2020
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.
🔴 Situation quasi-insurectionnelle à l’usine de Nickel en #NouvelleCalédonie, dont la vente suscite la colère des indépendantistes. Les gendarmes ont fait usage de leurs armes pour empêcher des intrusions sur le site. L’usine a été évacuée et mis en arrêt d’urgence. pic.twitter.com/eeFKqkQTfc
— Anonyme Citoyen (@AnonymeCitoyen) December 10, 2020
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