A pro-independence party in New Caledonia has added its voice against this week's government decision to allow nickel ore exports.
The UNI party accused the government of giving in to the dictates of multi-nationals after the USTKE union said the government was squandering New Caledonia's mining heritage.
The 11-member collegial government approved in principle a proposed law change requested by two nickel companies which seek to raise cash by selling ore.
For the sale to proceed, Congress will have to amend the mining code according to which - ore must be processed in the territory.
SLN, which is the territory's largest private sector employer, has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars and wants to sell ore to avert insolvency.
Vale of Brazil is selling its New Caledonia plant to an Australian company and as part of a restructure it wants to sell some ore.
UNI said SLN's parent company Eramet and the French state need to assume responsibility for their decisions in New Caledonia.
The Vale plant was launched on condition that it processes its ore in New Caledonia, with the USTKE union opposed to what it called a sell-off.