29 Aug 2015

Resolution reached in New Caledonia nickel dispute

1:03 pm on 29 August 2015

A resolution has been reached in New Caledonia to end a weeks-long industrial dispute which crippled traffic around the capital, Noumea.

New Caledonia's capital Noumea.

New Caledonia's capital Noumea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

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.

It was signed in the presence of the French High Commissioner and the president of the Caledonian Union Party, Daniel Goa, whose intervention on Tuesday helped break the stalemate and saw the roadblocks lifted.

The agreement provides that the government, the export committee, and signatories to the Noumea Accord will re-examine exports to China in coming weeks.