MAC: Mines and Communities

Kanaky-New Caledonia Goro Nickel

Published by MAC on 2003-10-07

Kanaky-New Caledonia Goro Nickel
(English Version)

October 7, 2003

Press Release

October 7, 2003 was chosen by communities throughout the world who have encountered difficulties and suffered injustices from the activities of the Canadian company INCO in order to engage in solidarity with a common act of denunciation.

The RHEEBU NUU Committee, representing the Indigenous Kanak people of Yaté and from the South of Kanaky-New Caledonia, salutes this initiative and manifests its solidarity with this action.

INCO has been present in New Caledonia for more than 100 years. Like other large multinational corporations, this company knows only the “Law of Profit” and has only developed relationships based upon economic domination. For the construction of the Goro Nickel plant, a deposit of 6 million tonnes of nickel was acquired for $20 million U.S. and a new deposit of 4 million tonnes of nickel (Prony concession) was freely surrendered by the political authorities of the Southern Province in 2002. After having made an enticing promise of exceptional economic development, INCO is making the project conditional on the granting of a subsidy from the French State, for more than 25% of its investment. Furthermore, New Caledonia has already agreed a fiscal gift (total tax exemption for 15 years) estimated at 35% of the investment. The only financial benefits for New Caledonia are estimated by INCO to be 22% of the annual turnover at most.

The RHEEBU NUU Committee demanded and obtained an analysis of the Environmental Impact Study whose most critical points remain the diffusion and uptake of heavy metals in nature and the lagoon. One year after the project’s initiation (it is currently suspended), the study of socio-cultural impacts on the surrounding populations has just been conducted.

These reports and their recommendations will be presented at the General Assembly on October 18, 2003 at which Kanak Chiefs from the Committee will meet in the presence of the Customary Senate and the l'Aire Djubéa Kapoume.

It has been clear since the beginning that everything has not been communicated to the people and that other more detailed studies must be conducted with the support of international experts.

Finally, the RHEEBU NUU Committee allies itself with the wishes expressed by all indigenous peoples and communities directly impacted by acts of exploitation by mining and industrial companies, for a change in economic relations, promotion and respect for the human and ecological environment, and for a fair “Win-Win” partnership. In taking this new step, we demand that indigenous rights be recognized and taken into account by mining companies present in New Caledonia and throughout the world.

Raphaêl MAPOU
President of the Committee

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