Sinking trees

26 Nov 2004

The Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia is catastrophic for the marine environment and coral reefs. The project is also disastrous for the terrestrial environment. The forest fires in New Caledonia demonstrate the insufficient means and techniques at human disposition to fight against the catastrophies. This insufficiency on land also holds true for the ocean and coastlines. The black chemical tides generated by the arrival of raw materials and Goro Nickel mine exportations would not be counteractable. The Polmar plan (Marine Pollution Plan) and means in New Caledonia are laughable.

The consumption of coal and the production of sulphuric acid leads to a global emission of sulphur compounds. The repercussions of the plume will negatively impact the archaic and endemic palm trees and conifers already considered by international expert evaluation to be threatened with extinction. The file requesting authorization presented by the Canadian company Inco stated with respect to the proximity of the trees to the industrial installations, ” one must foresee a natural extinction. ” The botanic reserves with strong genetic patrimony are not only crucial for the plant species, but also for the birds and fish surrounding or occupying the industrial complex. The road transports, the sound perturbations, the human establishment and frequentation—the project is predicted ” to import ” hundreds of Filipino miners to the site—will be destructive to the biodiversity. The impact of the cyclones on the stability of the waste water lagoons, tailing deposits and a dam along the Kwé river have not been taken into account.

The implantation of Goro Nickel will be harmful to touristic and recreative development in the southern part of the island. The involvement of the Suez group in the affair is disturbing. In March, 2003, the president of the company expressed with satisfaction, ” one of the largest industrial utility management contracts was signed on this day. ” The Enercal powerplant managed by Suez will provide power to Goro Nickel. The french government and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are contributing to the massacre with political and financial incentives. This money and desire would be put to better use reabsorbing the mining wastelands in France, for example, the Canari asbestos mine in Haute-Corse which has been abandoned for 40 years.

It might be too late to stop Inco from taking back the preliminary work that has been suspended since 2002 at the beginning of next year, but it is certainly not too late for the international ecologist community to impede the completion of the project by seeing to it that no chimney nor suboceanic pipe reject gas or liquid waste into this rich and vulnerable natural and human environment. A petition letter requesting that the French government stops the construction of the building site has been circulating around international organizations since last Friday. As of today, the petition has 14 signatures. The petition will be sent at l’Elysée and by the ministers on December 1.


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