25 Apr 2013

Planned coal-fired power plant worries New Caledonia leader

3:07 pm on 25 April 2013

A senior New Caledonian politician has called on France not to grant any tax exemption for a coal-fired power plant to be built for the nickel smelter in Noumea.

Sonia Lagarde, who has a seat in the French National Assembly and is a possible candidate for the Noumea mayoralty, says such a project would have a huge environmental impact because of a massive increase in CO2 emissions.

Studies have shown that such a power station at the SLN smelter would increase emissions to make New Caledonia the world's top polluter per capita.

The French ecology and energy minister, Delphine Batho, says the government has been trying to persuade SLN's parent company, Eramet, to use gas instead of coal despite its higher costs.