20 Nov 2006

New Caledonia's SLN company keen to become shareholder of northern project

3:11 pm on 20 November 2006

The SLN company says the CSTNC union strike does not change its commitment to be a long-term key player in New Caledonia's nickel sector.

The strike has affected the territory's nickel sector for nearly two months, with SLN having been the worst hit.

Another project in the north of territory is still in the balance as the main overseas shareholder, XSTRATA of Switzerland, is reassessing its costs.

The anti-independence Rassemblement-UMP leader, Pierre Frogier, is calling on SLN to take over the northern project and SLN's head, Pierre Alla, says it is considering this option.

"The northern project is something that we are very keen to consider. What Mr Frogier said was said for political reasons and I am not getting involved in the local political debate. But in the end of the day we are keen to participate in the northern project if this is open to us."

Pierre Alla.

But the minister for economic development and mining, Didier Leroux, says it is too early to make such a call.