The New Caledonian government has declined a bid by the SLN nickel company to be allowed to export one million tonnes of low-grade ore to Japan.
The export restrictions are contentious and led to industrial unrest in August as truck drivers fear for their jobs in a depressed nickel market.
The government position has been that supplying the market with more ore is bound to contribute to keeping prices low.
SLN, which is the oldest of the territory's three big nickel producers, is losing millions of dollars every month.
Last month however, the government approved a bid by one company, MKM, to sell 300,000 tonnes of ore to China over the next 18 months.