10 Apr 2006

New Caledonia's Goro Nickel says security situation means it cannot resume work

6:57 am on 10 April 2006

The Goro Nickel company says the security situation in New Caledonia's south is such that it cannot resume work on its two-billion US dollar nickel project, leaving nearly 2,000 employees out of work for a second week.

Talks have failed to get all Kanaks to agree to the project, which was stopped indefinitely a week ago when members of the Rheebu Nuu group wrecked trucks and equipment worth 10 million US dollars.

The group says the environment is being destroyed and Kanak rights are not being observed.

Goro Nickel says law and order must be guaranteed to build and then run the nickel plant.

Roundtable talks sponsored by the French government were first delayed and then abandoned on Friday, with Kanak representatives saying they were pointless if the Rheebu Nuu leaders were absent.

Rheebu Nuu's two top members, Raphael Mapou and Andre Vama, have been in hiding, while two men arrested over the attacks have been jailed.

Goro Nickel says it regrets that a dialogue was refused by those who had called for it.