10 Mar 2020

SLN reopens New Caledonia's Thio site

12:38 pm on 10 March 2020

New Caledonia's biggest private sector employer, the SLN nickel company, has resumed operations at its mining site in Thio after shutting down operations last week.

SLN smelter in Noumea New Caledonia

SLN smelter in Noumea New Caledonia Photo: RNZ Walter Zweifel

SLN said it had taken that step for the safety of its staff and to protect its installations.

A freighter due to load nickel ore for the smelter in Noumea was blocked amid a lingering dispute over the company's restructure.

Reports say talks between customary leaders and striking subcontractors eased the situation.

However, they say freighters at the SLN site in Kouaoua are still unable to load ore as subcontractors are maintaining their blockade.

SLN wants to change the working week by getting employees to put in more hours on working days in return for working fewer days.

As part of plans to increase productivity, SLN also wants some people to work on Sundays which continues to be opposed.

SLN has 2000 staff but over the past seven years it has run up losses of about $US1 billion.

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