23 Jun 2008

Union in New Caledonia calls for stability around SLN nickel compnay

10:58 am on 23 June 2008

New Caledonia's USOENC union has called on the French government to intervene in a bid to ensure that the current financial structure behind the SLN nickel company remains stable.

The USOENC union says it fears for the stability of New Caledonia if foreign multinationals win a controlling stake in SLN which is the

territory's biggest private sector employer.

The union's call follows an appeal by New Caledonia's southern province to ensure SLN won't be affected by bids for stakes in the French parent company, Eramet.

Eramet is at the centre of speculation of possible ownership changes, with suggestions that a key shareholder may sell its stake.

The nickel resource is the backbone of the territory's economy and

billions of dollars are being invested in two projects - one run by Vale of Brazil, the other backed by Xstrata of Switzerland.