MAC: Mines and Communities

France protects its interests in New Caledonia - against people and environment

Published by MAC on 2007-02-02

France protects its interests in New Caledonia - against people and environment

2nd Feburary 2007

A French court has upheld CVRD-Inco's allegedly damaging new mine construction in New Caledonia, while the French government bids for UNESCO World Heritage site listing of the islan'ds lagoons.

- Just so long as the protected area doesn't include the mine.

French court allows CVRD to continue work on Goro


2nd February 2007

TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - A French court overturned on Friday a ruling that required CVRD Inco to stop work on a section of its Goro nickel project in French overseas territory New Caledonia.

The Paris Court of Appeal said there is no evidence that the construction of Kwe Ouest, which is a section of Goro that is set up as a storage residue facility, poses an imminent risk to the environment.

"We are pleased by the court's decision, which is favorable to us and wil allow us to resume full construction activities at Kwe Ouest," said CVRD Inco spokesman Steve Mitchell.

"We remain strongly committed to building a project at Goro that incorporates the best environmental principles and is acceptable to the community."

In November 2006, a Paris tribunal had ordered the company to stop clearing land at Kwe Ouest after local activist group Rheebu Nuu filed a complaint saying the nickel project is damaging the environment.

But at the request from New Caledonia's provincial government, CVRD Goro continued to work on Kwe Ouest to secure it for environmental reasons.

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron ore miner, acquired Goro when it gained control of Canada's Inco in 2006. Goro is expected to start production at the end of 2008 and costs are seen at about $3 billion. At full capacity, it will produce 60,000 tonnes of nickel a year.

France bids for New Caledonia's lagoons on UNESCO world heritage list

Pacific News Service


The French government has filed a bid with the United Nations Education Science and Culture organisation (UNESCO) to have New Caledonia enlisted for its unique lagoons and reefs.

New Caledonia's lagoons and reef ecosystems are believed to be the world's second largest, just after the Australian Great Barrier Reef, already on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In its application, entitled "New Caledonia's lagoons and their associated reef and ecosystem diversity, France, on behalf of New Caledonia, proposed the registration of about 60 percent of the 23,400 square kilometres of coastal reefs on the UN list.

Oceania Flash reports New Caledonia's bid pertains to six sites covering an area of about 15,700 square kilometres.

These include the grand Southern Lake, the region of Foa-Bourail, the coastal region of North East, the grand Northern Lake, the Entrecasteaux Reef and Ouvea ­ Beautemps Beaupré reef.

They were selected for their exceptional character. The sites are also representative of the unique flora and fauna of this French Pacific overseas country.

The New Caledonian Reef has a unique biodiversity of which only 20 percent is known.

This however excludes areas close to the capital Nouméa, as well as some part of the South of the main island, where a world-class nickel mining project is currently under construction.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee is scheduled to convene late June in Christchurch, New Zealand to look at around forty applications..


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