Nickel, the environment and biodiversity in New Caledonia

July 11, 2003

International symposium
Ecological conservation and restoration in a tropical mining environment, July 15 to 20, Noumea 2003

This international symposium is organized by the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), the New Caledonian Institute of Agronomy (IAC-CIRAD) and the University of New Caledonia (UNC) in conjunction with the mining industry federation. Its objectives are twofold: to review the current scientific knowledge on the conservation and restoration of mining sites in the tropics and to make recommendations as to the prospects for furthering research and on applications to mining.

Nickel represents New Caledonia's main wealth. About one-quarter of the world's reserves in that metal are deposited under surface of the country, which is the world's fourth biggest producer. Yet New Caledonia is also an island that bears an unequalled and unique natural heritage and biodiversity. A crucial issue is at stake: the reconciling of a sustainable economic development with conservation of the environment. That is the major challenge being taken up by a partnership being forged between the mining companies, the New Caledonian authorities and scientific organizations.

This meeting is the opportunity to make a thorough up-to-date review, in partnership with the mining industries, of research being conducted in New Caledonia on the soils, water and biodiversity. Four main strands will be examined:

  • Biodiversity of ore-bearing sites
  • Bio-geochemistry of metal-rich soils
  • Water and the mining environment
  • Mining area restoration methods
  • Case histories of ecological restoration
  • Sustainable management in mining

    The problems of conservation and restoration of mining sites affect many other countries besides New Caledonia. Consequently, experts from Australasia (Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua-New-Guinea), and also from several other countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, France, Hungary) will present the results of their work. In all, around 150 delegates from 22 countries will be attending.

    Institut de recherche pour le développement

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