Rehabilitation of Nickel Mining Sites in New Caledonia

Rehabilitation of Nickel Mining Sites in New Caledonia


New Caledonia has the fourth largest Nickle deposits in the world, and major mining companies have frequently used open-pit nickle extraction. New Caledonia boasts around 1,137 endemic species, and distrubance from mining threatened many of them. The government came under pressure to regulate the mining sector and rehabilitate mined areas damaged from mining pollution. Both the waterways and New Caledonia's tourism sector suffered from the pollution.

REsearch Goals & Methods

Hydroseeding, the prefered method of replanting degraded slopes, involves spraying a mixture of mulch, vegetable glue, nutrients, mineral and organic fertilizers, and seeds of different species from a vehicle-mounted pump. A combination of fast-growing Graminaceae and endemic Cyperaceae whose germination is slow (e.g. Costularia comosa, Schoenus juvenis) is often used.

Conclusions & Takeaways

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.




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


  • Institut agronomique néo-Calédonien (IAC), Nouméa, New Caledonia.
  • École Supérieure d'Agro-Économie Internationale (ISTOM)