17 Nov 2006

New Caledonia's Goro Nickel boss Renton quits

4:56 pm on 17 November 2006

The director general of New Caledonia's Goro Nickel company, Australian Ron Renton, will leave the company at the beginning of next year.

Goro Nickel is the biggest enterprise in the South Pacific, with a planned investment of about two billion US dollars.

The project has been opposed by Kanak activists and a ruling is due in France next week on whether to grant an injunction to halt all construction work because of alleged environmental damage.

Goro's parent company Inco has recently been taken over by the Brazilian CVRD company, but Goro's spokesperson, Catherine Guillaume says Mr Renton's departure is not linked.

"What I can tell you is the decision has been made prior to CVRD's acquisition. So that's not linked to the new CVRD shareholder. It is more personal reasons. That's not to be public. We do not have the name of his replacement yet, it will come soon."

Ms Guillaume says CVRD's Roger Agnelli has just completed his first visit to the territory.

She says he has not announced any changes at this stage, and construction work is going ahead as planned.