The government condemned this Wednesday the violence which is increasing in New Caledonia after the announcement by the Brazilian group Vale of the sale of its nickel factory to a Caledonian and international consortium which arouses strong hostility from the separatists and the Kanak authorities.
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I will (...) start by condemning the violence, and salute the courage of the police (...) which for several days now have been intervening in particularly difficult conditions
," said the Minister for Overseas Territories. , Sébastien Lecornu, during questions to the government in the Senate.
He was questioned by the non-independence Kanak senator and UDI Gérard Poadja, who said "
his country has been hurting since the question of taking over the southern factory has set New Caledonia on fire
His question was read by his colleague from Doubs Jean-François Longeot.
After the announcement Wednesday by the Brazilian group Vale of the sale of its nickel plant in New Caledonia to a consortium including the commodity trader Trafigura, the tensions and clashes of recent days have increased on the spot.
Blockades manned by opponents and counter-blockades were erected by loyalists in Païta, north of Nouméa.
During the night, a gas station was set on fire at Mont-Dore and all gas stations will be closed on Thursday "in
order to force the state to maintain public order
Armed gangs have repeatedly attacked the security forces.
Successive clashes took place throughout the night and we deplore burnt businesses, a ransacked park and one injured among our firefighters,
”said the mayor of Mont-Dore, Eddie Lecourieux in a press release.
Denouncing the inaction of the State, between 500 and 1000 people gathered Tuesday evening at the call of the former mayor of Païta, Harold Martin (right), to set up counter-dams and invite "
the citizens to defend themselves
In view of this escalation, High Commissioner Laurent Prévost issued an order prohibiting the carrying and transport of firearms and bladed weapons.
The takeover of this factory is an explosive issue, which stirs up tensions between separatists and non-separatists.
The Vale-NC group, for its part, declared itself "
happy to announce that it has reached a firm agreement today for the purchase of the shares of Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie
" with the consortium, which alone remained in the running. for the takeover of the plant.
In a press release, the manufacturer specified that “
this take-over solution will ensure the continued operation and development of the plant (south of the archipelago) while respecting its societal and environmental responsibilities by a new company ( called) Prony Resources, 50% owned by New Caledonian investors.
The Prony Resources business plan will guarantee more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs
", according to Antonin Beurrier, current president of Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie, adding that "
this scheme represents the only alternative to putting the site to sleep
In this regard, Sébastien Lecornu reminded the Senate that "
the safeguarding of 3000 jobs was not negotiable
", referring to "
" that he had "
with the main protagonists
", ruling out a "
" From the factory.
After losing several billion dollars, Vale announced a year ago its intention to leave New Caledonia where it operates a nickel and cobalt metallurgical plant, backed by the rich and strategic Goro deposit.
Faced with major technical challenges, the unit was resized before it was put on sale and manufactures an intermediate product (Nickel hydroxide cake, NHC), intended for the electric car battery market.
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The separatists of the FLNKS, of the collective “
Usine du sud: factory pays
” and the Indigenous Customary Negotiating Body (ICAN) are totally opposed to the arrangement with Trafigura.
Supporters of mining nationalism, they were defending a competing offer in partnership with Korea Zinc, which was dismissed by Vale before the Korean group announced on Monday that it was withdrawing from the race.