Brazilian miner Vale has put its 95 percent stake in its New Caledonian nickel plant at Goro up for sale following years of huge losses.
The decision was announced in Noumea as the company presented a new strategy, which will in part need to have government approval.
Vale will close its nickel refinery and stop its cobalt production, which will result in a yet to be specified number of job losses.
Instead, the plant will concentrate on producing nickel hydroxide cake used in batteries of electric vehicles.
The company says nickel production of 23,000 tonnes this year will be less than 60 percent of the target.
Vale said it would still build a $US500 million waste storage facility but also seek government consent to export two million tonnes of low-grade nickel ore a year from its large deposits.
The plant in the south of New Caledonia employs just under 1300 people and provides work for about 1000 contractors.
Vale, which acquired the plant when it took over the Canadian miner Inco in 2006, is estimated to have spent $US9 billion on the Goro plant.