CVRD Inco Goro nickel project faces continuing opposition

CVRD Inco Goro nickel project faces continuing opposition
By: Lawrence Williams
Posted: '21-FEB-07 09:15' GMT © Mineweb 1997-2006

LONDON ( -- As nickel prices soar to record highs, political and environmental opposition to CVRD Incos $3 billion Goro nickel project, currently under construction in the French Overseas Territory of New Caledonia seems that it may be escalating.

Although the company was given permission by the French courts to continue work on a particularly sensitive part of the construction site after some previous court actions had gone against it, the main Kanak (indigenous New Caledonian people) environmental group, Rheebu Nuu, is reported by Radio New Zealand as warning of tough action against the project and claims that the French State is colluding in an environmental disaster.

The continued opposition to the mega-project will be a disappointment to CVRD Inco which has been trying to win over the islanders to accept the big development and may lead to further delays on the already behind-schedule and over-budget operation. The local government is in favour and Rheebu Nuu feels that the treatment of some of its demonstrators and activists by the police and army has been over-zealous in the extreme.

Last year the activist group caused some US$10 million worth of damage in sabotage at the operation and this year has been concentrating so far in raising support for its cause in Paris and will concentrate its efforts around the French Presidential elections in April and May.

It has already won over the French Greens presidential candidate, Dominique Voyet, who is reported as describing the Goro project as a caricature of a cynical violation of the law.