May 19, 2016 / 1:57 AM / 2 years ago

New Caledonia reports minor acid leak at Vale nickel operations

SYDNEY, May 19 (Reuters) - Brazilian miner Vale has had a minor acid leak at its Goro nickel operations in New Caledonia, the government of the French Pacific territory said, two years after a large chemical discharge at the same site sparked violent protests.

“A small leak was found on a tank container filled with hydrochloric acid at 30 percent (strength),” New Caledonian authorities said in a statement on Wednesday, adding there had been no environmental or human impact.

Vale spokesperson Cory McPhee confirmed the leak at the company’s port facility but said that production had not been interrupted and that there had been no impact on employees or the environment.

In 2014, the Southern Province of New Caledonia suspended Vale’s operations for nearly a month after acid-tainted effluent spilled into a river.

The leak sparked violent riots by locals that caused more than $20 million in damage.

Brazilian miner Vale said last week it would stick to a plan to sell $10 billion of core assets by next year to reduce debt, despite a recent rise in commodity prices. (Reporting by Cecile Lefort; Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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