Indigenous people vow to stop Inco pipeline

Indigenous people vow to stop Inco pipeline

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John Ahni Schertow
February 13, 2008
 

The Mining Advocacy Network reports that indigenous people in Kanaky, more commonly known as New Caledonia, began mobilizing over the weekend to stop a waste pipe that Inco is hurriedly laying for its Goro nickel mine.

A little over a week ago, the company won an appeal case filed by the indigenous concern group Rheebu Nuu in November 2006. The groups says the waste pipe is an imminent threat to the environment.

Kanaky is one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. The majority of species are endemic, which means they are not found anywhere else in the world.

An exceptional geological discovery was also made beneath the path of the waste pipe. The details have yet to be made public, but a formation of this kind is thought to be the origin of life on Earth. Inco is trying to keep this a secret until the pipe is finished.

After the Paris Court of Appeals made it’s ruling, Rheebu Nuu vowed to mobilize against the project.

They began doing so this past weekend: People from the isle of Ouen unilaterally launched a naval action to delay the towing of a pipe. There was also an hour long confrontation with armed police on boats; and on three other occasions, indigenous people forced Inco to stop working altogether. Each time, Inco called on the French Police so they could get back to work. Finally, on Sunday morning, youths took action against security installations and vehicles of Inco employees.

The news report from the Mining Advocacy Network adds that Indigenous groups are now “planning bold armed actions to stop the Inco project and reclaim their land and sea.”

Rheebuu Nuu has been protesting and against the Goro-Nickel mine since 2001. They’ve consistently demanded that Inco negotiate with Kanak landowners over the social and environmental impacts of the mine, but Inco refuses to do so.

In April of 2006, that refusal led to a blockade and the destruction of $10 million worth of equipment by Rheebuu Nuu Committee supporters. The blockade was brought to an end when French armed forces destroyed the camp, arresting several protesters. There have been many other actions against Inco in the region.

There is a petition you can sign which calls for Inco to accept a policy of sustainable development and to respect the rights of indigenous people in the region.

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