New Caledonia

Signs New Caledonia blockade could resume

In August, the drivers established blockades in and arround Noumea and other key access points in the territory over the government's policy to not approve exports of low grade ore to China after a decline in exports to Australia.

The drivers were aligned with small miners and the territory's veteran miner SLN who opposed the stance on the issue by the government's leading party, Caledonia Together.

Mediation efforts began in Noumea, late last month, after the president of the Caledonian Union, Daniel Goa, stepped in to mediate.

New Caledonian govt to hear nickel drivers' demands

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the drivers' union Contrakmine and the government last Friday, putting an end to 24 days of chaos in Noumea, during which drivers had used their trucks to block key access roads.

Although not providing any concrete response to the issue, the MoU says the territorial government will consider the drivers' demands on September 11th.

The nickel carriers and some miners had been protesting at the government's refusal to allow exports of ore to China after a slump in demand from Australia.

Resolution reached in New Caledonia nickel dispute

Truck drivers, contracted to mining entities and nickel carriers, have been protesting a decision by the territory's government not to allow exports of ore to China after a decline in exports to Australia.

Negotiations had reached a stalemate last week when the drivers blockaded Noumea, causing days of traffic chaos in the city of just under 100,000 people.

But late on Friday night, a breakthrough was reached when a Memorandum of Understand was signed between the drivers' union and the New Caledonia government.

Blockades lifted in New Caledonia

Most of the blockades, which had formed part of a protest by disgruntled nickel carriers, were removed yesterday, and access to Noumea has been re-established.

The truck drivers had been calling on the New Caledonian government to allow exports of ore to China after a decline in exports to Australia.

The school year had been deferred due to the conflict, but schools are expected to be back to normal today.

New Caledonian blockade set to continue

Several access sites are expected to be blocked from early this morning by truck drivers frustrated by a decision not to allow low grade ore exports to China.

Last week they blocked all main routes into the city for days, allowing only emergency vehicles through, and many businesses on Friday opten to close for the day.

On Friday night, a young man died in a car accident involving one of the blockades, prompting the president of the New Caledonian government, Philippe Germain, to call for a return to order, to give respect to the grieving family.

New Caledonia blockades resume after talks fail

The drivers are protesting a decision by New Caledonia's committee for external mining trade not to approve requests to export low grade ore to China, submitted by the territory's veteran mining company SLN and several small miners.

The blockades began two weeks ago and ramped up earlier this week before being eased yesterday for talks between the government and the union representing the small mining entities whom the truck drivers contract to.

The blockades have been fully re-installed today after the negotiations failed to resolve the dispute.

New Caledonia unrest linked to contractor protests

It comes as unrest and fires broke out close to the southern town of Mt Dore which along with other roads in to nearby Noumea was effectively blocked by the protesting groups.

A policeman has reportedly been shot and wounded during an intervention to counter a fire that broke out near the area, in St Louis.

Ground reports indicate the unrest is a sequel to a protest by truck drivers about the territory's mining policy two weeks ago.

They want New Caledonia's government to begin exporting ore to China after a fall in exports to South Korea, Japan and Australia.

New Caledonia surfers win Melanesian Cup

The French Territory completed a clean sweep of the five stand up paddle races, helping them claim the overall teams title, ending Vanuatu's three-year reign as champions.

Aotearoa Maori impressed in their first appearance at the event, which has been running since 2010.

The New Zealand team filled 21 of the 44 finals berths and claimed eight of 17 titles.


New Caledonia policeman shot amid tension over nickel

Public prosecutor Claire Lanet told local radio the policeman was injured when a shot was fired directly at a vehicle in Mont Dore near the capital Noumea during attempts to put out a roadside fire last night.

The officer was transferred to Gaston Bourret Hospital and the prosecutor says legal proceedings are underway.

Yesterday, a key road into New Caledonia's capital was blocked after truck drivers attached to nickel mining contractors staged another protest over nickel exports to China.

Czech firm wins New Caledonia coal contract

The plants are for the French territory's leading nickel mining company SLN which is looking to replace its existing power plants because they will soon no longer comply with stricter European Union pollution rules.

Radio Prague reports the New Caledonia contract represents a rare excursion for Vítkovice outside the European sphere where it usually wins major contracts.

Vítkovice says the contract to the tune of around 350 million US dollars should provide work and orders for other Czech companies as well.