4 May 2013

New Caledonia referendum call over coal-fired power plant

4:46 am on 4 May 2013

New Caledonia's newest anti-independence party has called for a referendum on whether to build a coal-fired power plant in Noumea.

The territory's daily newspaper says the issue was raised by the Caledonian People's Movement after last month's call by a rival party on France to refuse tax concessions for the project at the city's nickel plant.

Studies have shown that such a power station at the SLN nickel smelter would increase CO2 emissions to make New Caledonia the world's per capita top polluter.

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