23 Nov 2006

New Caledonian government surprised over Goro Nickel ruling

7:46 pm on 23 November 2006

The New Caledonian government says a court ruling, ordering the immediate halt of the construction of Goro Nickel's waste storage site, is surprising.

A court in Paris has ruled that the company must obey the order within 48 hours or face a 40,000 US dollar fine.

It was issued after a request from the Kanak Rheebu Nuu group, which had demanded a complete halt to the construction of the plant.

Goro Nickel says construction of the rest of the plant will go ahead as planned.

The minister for economic development and mining, Didier Leroux, says the court's decision is astonishing.

"There is some inconsistency in the court injunction, because they are stopping the work [at the waste storage site], although they recognise the potential threat will only become real when the processing plant will be operational. So there is something very surprising about this immediate injunction."

Mr Leroux says the injunction will not have any adverse effects on the economy.