Environment concerns put a stop to mining job

Construction on a billion-dollar mining plant in the French colony of New Caledonia has ground to a halt following a ruling by a Paris tribunal.

Construction on a billion-dollar mining plant in the French colony of New Caledonia has ground to a halt following a ruling by a Paris tribunal.

Earlier this month, the French High Court ordered for all work at the US $1.88 billion plant to stop until a detailed investigation on the environmental impacts of the project is carried out and approved by local authorities.

A permit for the project, which is being developed by local company Goro Nickel, was granted in 2004 by the authorities of New Caledonia’s Southern Province.

But the development has since faced fierce opposition from environmental campaign group, Rheebu Nuu, which argues that thorough environmental impact studies have not been carried out.

The high court ruling agreed with a recent report that suggested the project could raise the risk of pollution to water reserves in the region.

In April this year, an estimated 2,500 people took to the streets of the capital Nouméa in support of a protest against the environmental impacts of the plant.

A case was later filed by Rheebu Nuu.

The decision to stop construction will stand until Goro Nickel obtains the necessary authorisation from relevant authorities to resume operations.

And the company faces a $40,000-a-day fine if it breaks the ban.

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