18 Jan 2021

Tension high in New Caledonia over Vale sale

5:39 am on 18 January 2021

There is continued high tension in New Caledonia over the planned sale of the Vale nickel plant to a new consortium Prony Resources.

Pro-independence parties are firmly opposed to the deal, which is expected to be finalised next month, rejecting any role of the Swiss commodity trader Trafigura among the future stakeholders.

This file photo taken on May 27, 2015 shows Brazilian Vale's nickel processing plant of Goro in southern New Caledonia.

Photo: AFP

The plant was the target of arson attacks last month and is under police surveillance, pending further developments.

Opponents to the sale plan want the Brazilian-owned plant to go into local ownership, saying the plant and its resources should serve the territory's development and not be used by others to plunder.

The anti-independence side has accused the pro-independence FLNKS movement of staging a coup with its protests aimed at bringing New Caledonia to its knees.

It has called on the French state to re-establish order, describing the FLNKS actions as terrorism.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs