16 Mar 2016

Nickel Fund pays stressed New Caledonians

2:36 pm on 16 March 2016

The New Caledonian government says it will disburse 5.5 million US dollars of a special Nickel Fund this year to help exporters and contractors hit by the slump of the nickel price.

The disbursement applies only to staff of companies with fewer than 500 employees, which excludes the territory's three main companies, Koniambo, Vale and SLN.

The payment is expected to save about 400 jobs.

The exporters' union said the money won't save businesses but sustain employment.

New Caledonia's president Philippe Germain said he has no idea when prices recover from the recent sharp drop but said according to experts, it could take two years.

The Nickel Fund, which was set up in 2009, has about 23 million dollars.

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