On the night of 21 November, about 15 vehicles were burned and the head of the Serpentine conveyor was damaged.
“It’s a pure and simple destruction of the site,” said Olivier Béligon, communication director of the company Le Nickel (subsidiary of French Eramet) which operates the site.
Kouaoua had reopened after being blocked nearly two and a half months by young people from surrounding tribes denouncing the pollution of the nickel industry, despite agreements made by the mining company and customary authorities. On the morning of Friday, November 10, 64 mobile police officers intervened against a little more than a dozen people who were holding the roadblock, “in accordance with the expulsion order of the Nouméa Court of First Instance dated November 8, 2018 for which the High Commissioner of the Republic has granted the assistance of the police force. “
The following day, Saturday, November 10, the serpentine of the mine had suffered a double incendiary attack: “Twice even, since the gendarmerie notes two fires, one at 4 o’clock in the morning which took about thirty metres of the conveyor, the another at 6:30 pm that burned several hundred metres of the carpet. “
Wednesday, November 7 at 17h, the serpentine used by the SLN to Kouaoua, to move its ore from the mountain to the sea, was again burned.
Recall that on Wednesday, October 24, a provisional agreement was reached between the various stakeholders in the conflict around the mining activity in Kouaoua. It allowed SLN employees to return to the mining centre from Thursday, 25, after ten weeks of closure. But the final conclusion of this agreement was suspended at the last exchanges, which would have gone wrong, between the customary authorities and the collective of young inhabitants at the origin of the blockage. They challenged the authorization to exploit three new deposits, and it was finally canceled “to bring serenity back to the region,” adds the SLN.
Since the beginning of the year, the mine site has suffered about fifteen acts of sabotage, most of them by fire.
see previous articles on the struggle against the expansion of this nickel mine.