24 Nov 2020

New Caledonia's SLN gets new CEO

5:04 am on 24 November 2020

New Caledonia's SLN nickel company has a new CEO as a restructure of its operations is hoped to stave off insolvency.

SLN's French parent company Eramet has appointed Guillaume Verschaeve to the top job in Noumea, replacing Colin McGibbon who had been in the job since February.

SLN, which is the territory's biggest private sector employer, warned in July that it was on track to using up the remainder of a $US600 million loan given to it in 2016 by the French state and Eramet.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

Mr McGibbon said to help SLN survive, electricity costs needed to be lowered and a permit had to be issued to allow SLN to export two million tonnes of nickel ore.

The price of nickel has increased by 15 percent this year amid expectation of growing demand for the metal, which is used in batteries for electric vehicles.