Why a Small Pacific Island Territory Is Upending Nickel Prices – by Rishi Iyengar (Foreign Policy – May 21, 2024)


Violent riots in New Caledonia are having an outsized global impact on critical mineral supply chains.

The tiny Pacific island territory of New Caledonia entered its second week of deadly riots on Monday, with protesters blocking roads and shutting down the airport. At least six people have been killed so far, and dozens of businesses have been looted and burned, prompting France—which governs the archipelago—to impose a 12-day state of emergency.

New Caledonia has been under French control since 1853, and it voted to remain that way as recently as 2021 despite a growing pro-independence movement. However, that movement exploded into violence last week after France approved a constitutional amendment to the island territory’s voting rules that critics say will dilute the representation of the island’s Indigenous Kanak people.

The unrest has had an impact beyond the islands themselves—hundreds of tourists, many of them from nearby Australia and New Zealand, remain stranded because of the airport closure, and the foreign ministers of both countries have called for the resumption of flights to get their citizens out. It has also led to a sharp spike in the price of nickel, which has reached its highest level in nine months.

For the rest of this article: https://foreignpolicy.com/2024/05/21/new-caledonia-riots-nickel-prices-france/