7 Jan 2020

USTKE union wary of New Caledonia nickel restructure

2:09 pm on 7 January 2020

Another New Caledonian union has voiced its concerns about the planned restructure and sale of the Vale nickel plant.

Vale's nickel plant in New Caledonia

Vale's nickel plant in New Caledonia Photo: AFP

Vale plans to close the nickel refinery and to prioritise production of NHC, or nickel hydroxide cake, which Vale says is in great demand for batteries for electric vehicles.

The USTKE union said its role was to minimise the job losses as the Brazilian-owned company changed its business model.

The union also said it was closely watching who would be the buyer of the assets.

Vale has declined to say where talks are at with potential buyers, but the president of the Southern Province has indicated Vale may well have no option but to sell its assets to Chinese investors.

Vale's plan also involves to sell nickel ore abroad which would require government approval.

An USTKE delegate told local media that it wanted a limited and measured accord.

Last month, another union Solidarity NC urged the authorities to reject Vale's redundancy plans.

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