25 Nov 2013

New Caledonia enviromentalists insist on Vale safety before restart

4:42 pm on 25 November 2013

The head of New Caledonia's Rheebu Nuu environmental group, Raphael Mapou, says it will only condone a restart at the Vale nickel plant if it can guarantee its safety.

The six-billion US dollar plant was shut down nearly two weeks ago after it became public that an effluent pipe going through a World Heritage lagoon had burst.

Mr Mapou says after all the past incidents, the pipe rupture is an accident too many.

His words are translated.

"We will assess the developments next December and then we will say yes or no to the restart of the construction. The ball is now in the camp of the company and in the camp of the government of the southern province."

Vale has said the pipe burst because too much air was in it.

It plans to resume operation at the end of the year.