A senior New Caledonian politician says after the latest acid spill, the Vale nickel plant should be closed and ore processing done elsewhere, possibly in Australia, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea.
Roch Wamytan, who is the head of the pro-independence Caledonian Union, made the suggestion in his first television interview since the prolonged rioting by young people from St Louis, whose chief he is.
He says he is in favour of shutting the Vale plant because spills into the World Heritage Site area have continued despite repeated promises, after earlier industrial accidents, that safety would be improved to prevent such incidents.
Mr Wamytan says he is in favour of maintaining the mining activity but move the processing to a less fragile place.
The government of the southern province has given conditional approval for Vale to restart its operations after the spill prompted the suspension of all work at its Goro plant a month ago.
Late last month, about 34 million US dollars worth of Vale equipment was vandalised by people opposed to the project but so far police have made no arrests.