Mine-Factory Burned Down in Yaté, New Caledonia

Published December 16, 2020

Mine-Factory Burned Down in Yaté, New Caledonia

The industrial site of Vale, in New Caledonia, shut down due to the uprising triggered by its takeover, has again been the target of fires and damage on Monday December 14th.

The fire broke out in the early evening, Monday, and destroyed a stock of tires, machinery, administrative offices and a stock of oil on the site of this hydrometallurgical plant of cobalt and nickel, classified Seveso 2 and located in the south of the archipelago.

Rioters last week “cut a pipe” of water and dug a “trench” in the road, and set fires in several places.

This chemical plant, backing onto the rich Goro deposit, has been stationary and under the protection of the police since Thursday after being stormed with trucks by anti-colonial revolutionaries, opposed to its sale to a consortium with Trafigura, a commodity trader.

The Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS), the Usine du Sud = factory pays collective and the Indigenous Customary Negotiating Body (ICAN) reject this transaction and advocate the nationalization of mineral resources.

All last week, this issue was at the origin of an outbreak of a major uprising on the Caillou, which rekindled opposition between anti-colonial insurgents and colonizers.

New Caledonia was first colonized by France in the 19th century and was used as a penal colony where political prisoners, including anarchists like Louise Michel, were imprisoned. The French colonizers confined indigenous Kanaks in reservations, while exploiting New Caledonia’s natural resources, particularly nickel. Indigenous Kanak people have fought back against the French colonizers in a series of conflicts, using guerrilla warfare, since the late 19th century.