New Caledonia mining trucks protest over nickel export ban to China – by Cecile Lefort (Reuters U.S. – August 6, 2015)

SYDNEY – Aug 7 Dozens of mining trucks on Friday took to the streets of Noumea, capital of the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, to protest the government’s ban on some nickel exports to China.

Last week, the heads of the national and local governments along with mining executives vetoed exports of nickel laterites to China because of New Caledonia’s longstanding supply agreements with Australia.

“The opening to China is against the mining strategy established in 2009 to maintain export volumes to traditional clients of New Caledonia,” Philippe Germain, president of New Caledonia said in a statement.

Germain also said exports to China were unpredictable and blamed the Asian giant for the substantial fall in nickel prices. Nickel prices hit a six-year low in July and are down 27 percent this year, largely on slowing demand.

The veto angered a large number of truckers who subcontract for mines such as Société Minière du Sud Pacifique SA (SMSP), Ballande Group and Gemini, saying the ban will force many of them to shut down in an already difficult environment with falling export volumes.

“We want to be able to possibly export to China but this is categorically rejected by the government,” said Max Foucher, the spokesman of local mining union ContraKmine.

For the rest of this article, click here: