Small Mining Entreprises in New Caledonia : histories, identities and issues


Séverine Bouard

The project aims to fill a knowledge gap to refine mining policies and improve relationships between large metallurgical companies and small and medium sized mining companies. The project is organized in three areas: Mapping / typology : to identify the main types of small and medium-sized mining companies beyond legal definitions, based on ‘morphological’ and ‘dynamic’ criteria (genesis, trajectory, current evolution) and to clarify the Terms used to qualify these companies, also to identify trajectories and types of entrepreneurs. Functioning : Emphasis will be placed in particular on the managerial capacities of enterprises (their degree of autonomy in this area and the specialization / professionalisation of management tasks) and the constitution and structure of their capital (external support), The support they receive from the DES or other provincial start-up assistance mechanisms. Particular emphasis will also be placed on studying the skills of employees that make the current development of small-scale mining possible. Arena : One of the assumptions underlying the project is that mining SMEs working on few sites, or even just one, have had to develop strong relationships with local populations, which can be a potential source of institutional innovations. This will include negotiations on contracts between small subcontracting mining companies and the phenomena of inclusion and exclusion that they generate. This research program is implemented by a multidisciplinary team of anthropologists, economists, sociologists, geographers and historians. The survey process relies mainly on individual and collective interviews with industry stakeholders and documentary research (archives, scientific literature, regulatory texts, etc.). The results generated by the project will contribute, by providing a more precise and synthetic knowledge of this category of companies, to a better targeting of mining policies (for the communities) and relations between the major mining companies Mining SMEs and other social partners (communities, communities). The relationship between transforming firms and jobseekers is a complex issue, and the external vision provided by the project can be mobilized to support social mediation (conflict management)

Research category
basic research
Main disciplines
Human Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Economy and History
Main topics
Mining sociology, labour sociology, resources management
Reasearch team
  • Séverine Bouard, Dr, PhD Geographie et agro-economist, IAC
Public academic partners
IAC, IRD, CNRS, UNC, Divine Word University
Private industrial partners
Non spécifié
Civil society partners
Non spécifié
Public stakeholders and collectivities
Non spécifié
Project duration
24 mois

Project valorisation

Publication in which journal, colloquiums, national or international restitution workshops, books, film *
Demmer C., « L’export du nickel au coeur du débat politique néo-calédonien », Mouvement, n°91/3, pp.130-140. Le Meur P-Y., Combien y-a-t-il d’enclaves minières en Nouvelle-Calédonie”, « L’ancrage territorial des firmes, atelier Enclaves et territoires de l’entreprise », Montpellier, le 29 novembre 2017. Le Meur P-Y, Levacher C., 2017. Mining and competing sovereignties in New Caledonia, ASAO Conference, 07-10 février 2017, Hawaï, Etats-Unis (Communication orale) Levacher C., 2017. « Extracting, measuring, tramming, loading the nickel. Importance of technic and skills in identities and relations between small and medium mining extraction companies in New Caledonia », International Nickel Workshop on the geochemical cycle of nickel, 17–19 octobre 2017, Nancy, France (Communication orale) Levacher C., Burton J., 2017. France, New Caledonia and medium and large-scale mining projects: comparing political and extractive relations to nickel mining sector with Papua New Guinea », Australian Anthropological Association Conference, 11-15 décembre 2017, Adélaïde, Australie , (Communication orale)