17 Dec 2007

New Caledonia to ask France for financial help to pay for their slice of the Goro nickel project

7:29 pm on 17 December 2007

New Caledonia is expected to ask France for more money and for tax exemptions for the Goro Nickel project on Thursday.

The territory's politicians are in Paris this week to discuss the Noumea accord, but they are likely to also discuss the region's biggest industrial project the cost of which has ballooned to more than 3 billion US dollars.

New Caledonia is meant to have a 10 percent stake, but the cost explosion could cut that to five percent.

Claudine Wery reports from Noumea.

"The local politicians will ask Paris to help them. They would like the French government to give more exemption of taxes to Inco. Before, Paris gave an envelope of free tax investment of around 500 million dollars. But of course, they would like a rise of that. There is an important meeting in Paris on Thursday about the implication of the Noumea accord and this subject may be discussed. It is difficult to know exactly what Paris will say but what is sure is that France is running out of money."

Claudine Wery.