New Caledonia Truckers Again Press For Nickel Exports

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Blockades threatened if more exports aren’t approved

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 29, 2016) – The New Caledonian government has been put under pressure by truck drivers who want the territory to export nickel ore to China.

They have issued an ultimatum to the administration of president Philippe Germain to use its sitting on Tuesday to authorise more exports or face fresh blockades.

The threat comes after a sharp drop in the price of nickel triggered huge industry-wide losses and damaged exports markets, including Australia.

Earlier this month, Mr Germain admitted the context had changed and the government would re-examine demands to export low-grade ore to China after earlier opposing exports to shore up the price.

And two weeks ago, the government said it would disburse US$5.5 million of a special Nickel Fund this year to help exporters and contractors.

They say however that they don't want money but work for their trucks.

In August, the truck drivers blocked key access roads around Noumea for weeks over the nickel export dispute.

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