8 Feb 2006

Setback for New Caledonia Kanak group in bid to stop nickel plant

3:12 pm on 8 February 2006

An indigenous group in New Caledonia has received a setback in a legal bid to halt what's set to be the biggest industrial project in the South Pacific.

Goro Nickel says it's pleased a court has ruled in its favour over an application by the Kanak Rheebu Nuu Committee for the mine's exploration licence to be revoked.

A final ruling is expected in three months.

The Rheebu Nuu is seeking guarantees over environmental protection in the southern tribal area.

Goro Nickel says the tribunal didn't recognise the claim as urgent because no machinery authorised by the exploration licences are up and running yet.

Thousands of Filipino workers are set to arrive in New Caledonia in the coming weeks to help construct the multi-billion dollar plant.