The Chinese-owned company, Ramu Nickel, says it will urgently appeal to the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court after the National Court this week refused to lift an injunction stopping the construction of an off shore tailings disposal system.
Ramu NiCo, which had expected its nickel plant to go into production this year, wants to dump tailings in Busamuk Bay off Madang, but has been forced to stop construction after court action by landowners.
This week the court refused to lift the injunction, saying the company's plans could affect marine life and the bay's pristine environment.
Ramu NiCo, which says it has to date spent more than 1.2 billion US dollars on the project, suggests it might place the operation on what it terms a care-and- maintenance basis, and start laying off staff.
It says it will do everything it reasonably can to minimise losses and the first action will be to urgently appeal to the Supreme Court.