French Polynesia Mining Minister: Opponents To Makatea Mining Must Offer Alternatives

Population of 3,000 would benefit from phosphate mining by Australian company: Maamaatuaiahutapu 

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 25, 2017) – The French Polynesian mining minister has challenged opponents to renewed phosphate mining on Makatea to provide an alternative that could benefit its inhabitants.

Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu told local television that Makatea cannot be left as it is.

He said something must be offered to its inhabitants.

His comment comes after an Australian company presented to the government and Makatea residents a project to restart mining on 600 hectares in the hope of extracting about 35,000 tonnes of phosphate a year.

The company and the government say a survey will be conducted to gauge the views of the Makatea people.

Opponents of the mining project have called for the atoll to be kept as a nature reserve and foster eco-tourism.

Makatea had about 3,000 inhabitants at the height of the mining boom in the first half of the 20th century but the number dwindled to below 100 after mining ceased in 1966.

Radio New Zealand International
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