5 Apr 2005

Eramet voices support for New Caledonia's northern nickel project

11:22 am on 5 April 2005

The French mining company, Eramet, has voiced its support for the planned construction of the joint venture nickel project in the north of New Caledonia's main island.

Its head, Jacques Bacardats, says the plant of Falconbridge and SMSP needs to go ahead to guarantee stability and peace in the territory.

His comments come after a demonstration outside Eramet's SLN smelter in Noumea where the mainly Kanak USTKE union accused the company of trying to make the northern project fail.

Under the so-called 1998 Bercy accord, SLN and Falconbridge are to swap ore deposits to allow for the project in the north to go ahead.

But Mr Bacardats says questions need to be asked about the Falconbridge project whose viability has been under the spotlight after a forecast 40 percent cost overrun.