The French mining conglomerate Eramet has approved a plan aimed at saving New Caledonia's SLN nickel smelter in which it is a majority shareholder.
Eramet has issued a statement, saying it will make available US$45 million to support SLN until the end of June when a restructuring plan is expected to be finalised.
SLN, which is the territory's main private sector employer, is losing more than half a million dollars a day because of the fall in the price of nickel.
The announcement in Paris follows a decision by the New Caledonian provinces' industrial umbrella group, STCPI, to take up part of the US$240 million loan offered by the French state, which promised to guarantee SLN's continued operation.
Reports say STCPI has agreed to borrow US$144 million for the restructure which is expected to cut SLN's production costs by a quarter by the end of next year.