New Caledonia: demonstration in Noumea against the sale of the nickel plant of the Brazilian Vale

” That’s enough “. Between 700 and 1,200 people demonstrated in the streets of Noumea on Friday against the plan to sell the nickel metallurgical plant of the Brazilian group Vale to Australians and against the increase in ore exports, AFP noted.

This demonstration was organized at the call of a collective bringing together the Customary Senate, which includes the traditional Kanak authorities, the FLNKS, a historic independence party, two unions as well as ecological and indigenous associations.

” That’s enough. We no longer want to be at the mercy of a multinational, we no longer want our wealth to slip away ”, declared Daniel Goa, FLNKS spokesperson, during a speech by the leaders. in front of the Caledonian government and the Hôtel de la Province sud.

A financial pit

Entitled “Plant in the South: country plant”, the collective disputes the project of the Brazilian giant Vale to sell its metallurgical plant in the south of the archipelago, backed by the extremely rich nickel deposit of Goro to an industrial and financial consortium, led by New Century Resources (NCR), an Australian junior. The two partners extended their exclusive discussions of 45 days at the end of July after “decisive progress”.

A financial pit with multiple technical hazards, this unit, whose industrial model has been resized, is struggling to go into production. “Vale takes us for idiots. He throws in the towel because he has concerns at home with the ruptures of the dams, which have killed hundreds, ”said Raphaël Mapou of the Indigenous Committee, Rhebuu Nu.

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He was referring to the rupture of a dam on an iron mine in Vale in Brumadinho in Brazil in January 2019 which left 270 people dead and missing after another accident in 2015 in the same region, which left 19 people dead. and an unprecedented ecological disaster.

A list of demands given to the institutions

Mr. Mapou estimated that NCR “was only there to help Vale get the hell out of it”, while the Brazilian group does not withdraw any proceeds from this sale but is putting $ 500 million in a trust to allow the construction of a equipment, securing the mine waste storage area.

The collective, which handed over a list of demands to institutions, defends a competing takeover offer submitted by Sofinor, a financial investment company in the North Province, led by the Kanak separatists, in partnership with the South Korean group, Korea Zinc. In this project, a “country entity” would hold 56% of the capital.

The collective, whose mobilization takes place on the eve of the second referendum on the independence of the island on October 4, is also opposed to requests for exports of raw ore from Vale and Société Le Nickel (Eramet), from deposits classified by the Mining Code, as a strategic metallurgical reserve. Only local refining is possible. Contacted, Vale-Nouvelle-Calédonie did not wish to comment on this event.

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