25 Nov 2004

Kanak leaders want more talks about New Caledonia nickel project

2:06 pm on 25 November 2004

Kanak and community leaders in the south of New Caledonia are calling for talks with a nickel mining firm about the restart of a massive mining project.

Building work is scheduled to begin in April on one point eight billion US dollar nickel-processing plant in the world at Goro.

The Rheebu Nuu Committee president, Andre Vama, says a tribunal has rejected a complaint against the committee lodged by the Canadian multinational, Inco.

Mr Vama says the departure of Pierre Alla as head of Goro Nickel once again calls the credibility of the whole operation into question.

The spokesperson for Goro Nickel, Katherine Guillaume, says Mr Alla has been replaced in favour of a mining specialist.

"Pierre Alla was a project man. And now it will be a different situation for Goro Nickel as we will be in the construction phase during three years, and then in operation phase for the rest of the time, and the profile of the new manager has to be different now, it has to be more operational, and targeted on mine and plant."

Ms Guillaume says Mr Alla will stay with Goro Nickel as a senior advisor.