4 Apr 2006

Damage to nickel mine in New Caledonia is 10 million US dollars

12:07 pm on 4 April 2006

The head of New Caledonia's Goro Nickel company, Ron Renton, has put the material damage of the weekend destruction at its construction site at at least 10 million US dollars.

Kanaks opposed to the project wrecked trucks and earthmovers, pipelines and a pumping station reportedly in protest at the lack of environmental protection to the area in the territory's south.

Violent clashes continued yesterday between about 200 riot police using tear gas and Kanak activists of the Rheebu Nuu group trying to uphold roadblocks.

Four people have been injured, including a policeman who suffered a broken leg.

Police have arrested eight people involved in the attacks.

Goro Nickel has stopped work at the site indefinitely and asked the authorities to give assurances for the workers' safety.

1,700 Goro Nickel employees are affected by the suspension of the operation.