There is speculation in New Caledonia that the delayed launch of the Vale nickel plant may lead to part of it being sold.
The local daily newspaper says the uncertainty is being fuelled by a report by the Commodesk raw material news agency, which highlights Vale's difficulties in light of lower iron ore prices.
The agency says as a result, Vale is considering abandoning plants and projects in the Americas and New Caledonia.
The head of Vale New Caledonia, Stuart MacNaughton, has told Noumea's newspaper that the situation with its Goro plant is different as it is still in the launch phase.
He says no decision whatsoever has been made and much will depend on the output in the first part of next year.
The plant in the south of New Caledonia has been dogged by cost overruns and delays caused by acid spills.