Pacific Media Watch

3 December 2014

NEW CALEDONIA: Film maker links mining, independence at PJR2014

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A still from the environmental film Cap Bocage about New Caledonia. Image: Jim Marbrook/PMC

AUCKLAND (Radio New Zealand International/Pacific Media Watch): The maker of a documentary that explores conflicts surrounding nickel mining in New Caledonia says he hopes it shows the complexity of the independence issue.

Director Jim Marbrook made the documentary Cap Bocage, which follows independence activist Florent Eurisouké as he and the environmental organisation Mèè Rhaari take on the French mining company Ballande in New Caledonia.

The film was first shown at the New Zealand International Film Festival earlier this year, and was shown again as part of the Pacific Journalism Review conference last week.

Marbrook said the film showed that independence was connected with nickel mining, which complicated environmental and traditional land rights issues in New Caledonia.

"Because the Northern Province does have a nickel mine that brings in quite a lot of money and that may also fuel some autonomous position for the Northern Province, and of course the independence movement is a kind of uneasy bedfellow in many respects with the kind of environmental movement. Where there's money, there's nickel and there are some pretty stringent controls you've got to take when you're trying to protect the environment from open cast mining."

A vote on an independence referendum is expected by 2018.

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