Can a sustainable mining experiment in New Caledonia fuel Tesla's ambitions?

“New Caledonia, in its way of exploiting its ore, is perceived as a country which contributes to the fight against global warming”, decla...


“New Caledonia, in its way of exploiting its ore, is perceived as a country which contributes to the fight against global warming”, declared the president of the territory, Louis Mapou, in an interview. “We have very high production costs in New Caledonia, it’s true, but we respect human rights, respect the rights of local populations and respect the environment.

Even with guardrails in place, the extraction of natural resources remains a sensitive issue in New Caledonia. Nickel prices have risen about 25% this year, reflecting the ore’s importance in the campaign to move away from fossil fuels. But so far this has not led to greater profits for the miners.

The former owner of Goro, Brazilian mining giant Vale, was desperate to get rid of the mine. Tensions over who would buy the nickel processing plant led to protests that forced Goro to shut down for months, the kind of supply chain disruption that could be disastrous for Tesla. The conflict also sparked the fall of the New Caledonian government earlier this year.

“In the history of nickel in New Caledonia, there is a battle between the multinational and the local populations, and there is also the colonial history”, declared Mr. Mapou, who took power after the conflict. de Goro and is the territory’s first Kanak president. “With Tesla, with the new owner, we now have a compromise that allows the Goro plant to be opened, but it remains fragile.”

The coastal road to Goro, which winds along a bay dotted with colorful corals, is littered with charred cars. The dozens of vehicles set on fire are rubbish from the months-long struggle that idled the mine and led to the fall of the New Caledonian government in February. And they’re a visceral reminder of the tense politics that could thwart Tesla’s efforts to secure a constant supply of nickel.

André Vama was among hundreds of Kanaks who barricaded the road with tires and burning vehicles this year, strangling mine operations.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Can a sustainable mining experiment in New Caledonia fuel Tesla's ambitions?
Can a sustainable mining experiment in New Caledonia fuel Tesla's ambitions?
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