26 Mar 2003

Kanak activists to meet INCO head over troubled Goro nickel project

4:37 pm on 26 March 2003

Kanak activists in New Caledonia say they will meet with the chief executive officer of Canadian mining company INCO, next week over the troubled Goro nickel plant in the south of the Territory.

Jacques Boengkih says CEO Scott Hand's visit to Noumea means they can push for negotiations to get underway about the impact the project will have on Kanaks living in the area.

Work at Goro has been suspended amid plans to review the project which is estimated will cost more than two billion U.S. dollars to complete.

Mr Boengkih says they will present their case again at the meeting.

"There is no indication that negotiations will start when Scott Hannah would be here, but there are situations in Canada that are very similar to here, and in Canada there have been negotiations that could look alike what INCO could start here."

Mr Boengkih says they presented a letter to Mr Hand when a Kanak delegation recently went to Canada, outlining their concerns over the environmental impact.