RADIO NZ – 28 August 2020
The anti-independence Caledonia Together party called on Vale to postpone the announcement of a buyer until after the October referendum on independence from France.
Vale extended its negotations with Melbourne-based New Century resources until mid-September after financing arrangements failed to be completed in July as planned.
Pro-independence parties and Kanak chiefs were firmly opposed to the sale, and last week staged the biggest march in months in protest at the deal.
Caledonia Together said it wanted to convene an extraordinary session of Congress to examine the proposed sale process.
It also wanted a committee formed comprising New Caledonia’s key institutions, including the indigenous groups.
The party also demanded that the Southern Province hold a public information event on environmental demands put to Vale.
Caledonia Together wanted a greater role for New Caledonia as a whole in the Vale assets.
The Vale plant was put up for sale in December after running up losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Vale, which acquired the project when it took over the Canadian miner Inco in 2006, was estimated to have spent $US9 billion on the Goro plant.
Part of Vale’s pre-sale restructure included the sale of nickel ore but pro-independence parties firmly opposed changes to the mining code to allow this.
Vale’s changes involved prioritising the production of NHC, or nickel hydroxide cake, which was in demand for batteries for electric vehicles.