29 Dec 2005

Kanak union, USTKE, welcomes Paris court decision over Koniambo nickel deposit

2:10 pm on 29 December 2005

The Kanak union USTKE says it will be closely watching the French state-owned company, Eramet, after the company lost it's bid to take possession of one the world's biggest deposits of nickel in New Caledonia.

A court in Paris has dismissed Eramet's legal challenge of the 1998 Bercy Accord, under which the deposit at Koniambo, is transferred to the northern province if the local government goes ahead with a processing plant.

The project had been described as a priority by the French president to re-balance the territory's economy and develop the northern province.

USTKE spokesman, Pierre Chauvat, says he believes Eramet will not give up the fight for Koniambo.

But Mr Chauvat, says today's court ruling is cause for celebration for union members.

"Very, very happy of course, because we only heard the news this morning at about six o'clock and the President of the USTKE is preparing to go on all radio stations to announce that we are holding up the blockades we were supposed to put on Eramet group in Noumea, so now this strike action is no longer needs to take place."