9 Dec 2005

French metal firm in court bid to stop nickel deposit reverting to New Caledonia

9:20 am on 9 December 2005

A court in Paris has been hearing arguments overnight from the French nickel company Eramet, which is seeking to freeze the transfer of a reserve of metal ore in the north of New Caledonia.

The valuable Koniambo massif is in dispute as the Canadian company earmarked by France to mine the site says it now can't go ahead with the project under the terms agreed.

The titles are set to return to New Caledonia, but the rival nickel company, the French state-owned Eramet, argues it's at risk of being stripped of its mining rights.

The next hearing is scheduled for the 13th of December.