Traders in London say nickel stocks are decreasing, raising hopes in New Caledonia that the price for the territory's top export commodity will go up again.
Its price has more than halved since early 2011 in a period that in New Caledonia has seen the addition of two seven-billion dollar processing plants.
Politicians in Noumea fear that industry-wide losses will this year exceed one billion US dollars in New Caledonia, with setbacks affecting not only the territory's three smelters but also subcontractors.
2012 figures, which precede the Koniambo plant's opening, show that one in five private sector employees was working in the nickel sector.
And they also show that the nickel industry has been paying wages 50 percent higher than the rest of the private sector.