Resource Details

Rehabilitation of nickel mining sites in New Caledonia

Literature: Journal Articles Project - Business or Private Project - Government

Sarrailh, J.M., and N. Ayrault. 2001. "Rehabilitation of nickle mining sites in New Caledonia," Unasylva, ed A. Perlis. Vol 52. Rome, Italy.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Unasylva 207- Rehabilitation of nickle mining sites in New Caledonia


  • New Caledonia has the 4th largest Nickle deposits in the world, and major mining companies have used open-pit nickle extraction, causing large areas of New Caledonia's biodiverse forests to become degraded. New Caledonia boasts around 1,137 endemic species in its 19000 km2 area, and distrubance from mining threatened many of these species. 
  • The government came under pressure to regulate the mining sector and rehabilitate mined areas when pollution caused by mining started to damaging waterways and hurt New Caledonia's economically important tourism sector. 
  • Large-scale reforestation work began in the 1990s, but progressed slowly because soil at nickle mining sites tends to be infertile and high in toxic elements. Effective replantation by mining companies has been inconsistent due to lack of regulation, and focuses on low-cost, rapid plantation of fast growing exotic species, such as acacias or Graminaceae, which produce fast and inexpensive ground cover to reduce erosion, or fast-growing nitrogen fixing endemic species, such as Acacia spirorbis and Casuarina collina. 
  • The technique of hydroseeding- spraying a mixture of mulch, vegetable glue, nutrients, mineral and organic fertilizers and seeds of different species from a pump mounted on the back of a truck- is the prefered method of replanting degraded slopes. A combination of fast-growing Graminaceae and endemic Cyperaceae whose germination is often slow (e.g. Costularia comosa, Schoenus juvenis) is generally used.
  • Problems with this method include the high cost of growing seedlings or seed-producing plants in the nursery, and the difficulty of obtaining enough seeds for replanting. 

Geographical Region

  • Other-Australia/Pacific
  • Country

  • Other
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