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Making the case for a political ecology investigation at Goro nickel mine

Volume 21, Issue 1

May, 2015

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Gooch, N. (2015). Making the case for a political ecology investigation: New Caledonia's Goro nickel mine. Pacific Journalism Review, 21(1): 164-176.
Author(s): Nicole Gooch
Publication date: 
May, 2015

New Caledonia’s Goro nickel mine, owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale, is unique in the world. The US $6 billion smelter, set over a vast biodiversity hotspot, is using high-pressure acid leaching treatment technology that has never been tested on such a scale. Over the past 10 years it has been the source of a series of environmental accidents, and the object of many conflicts, including intra-community conflicts (Horowitz, 2009, 2010). With multiple actors, complicated motives and set within a political and economic context of decolonisation and development, Vale New Caledonia’s mining project at Goro in the south of the main island of Grand Terre deserves to be the focus of a multi-dimensional and nuanced journalism investigation. This article argues that to do so requires combining journalism as a research practice with a political ecology framework. This combination should ensure that the journalist has an in-depth understanding of the structures and processes of the field (Nash, 2014), enabling her to interrogate, map the visible as well as the visible, and avoid the superficial.