A rally has been held in New Caledonia to demonstrate against the planned sale of the Vale nickel plant to a consortium led by a Swiss-based commodity trader, Trafigura.
Thousands of people marched from the French High Commission to the seat of government.
The groups opposed to the sale insist that Vale enter in a due diligence process with Sofinor of the Northern province whose bid with Korea Zinc has been rejected by Vale.
Vale has said it will shut the plant if there is no buyer by the end of October.
The Kanak groups, made up of local chiefs and pro-independence politicians, insist that the nickel ore be processed in New Caledonia and not exported.
The Trafigura bid reportedly provides for New Caledonia to have a 38 percent share.
Vale's sale to New Century Resources of Australia failed last month after months of negotiations.
The nickel sector with its 35 mines and three processing plants accounts for about 20 percent of the jobs in New Caledonia.
New Caledonia is the fourth biggest nickel ore producer in the world and the seventh largest nickel producer.