The president of New Caledonia's northern province has hit out at the SLN nickel mining company over the closure of the Kouaoua site.
The mine has been blocked for a month, prompting SLN to shut it while blaming the provincial government for the stop.
Paul Neaoutyine said he asked for a halt to mining last week to prevent a serious situation from deteriorating and to allow for a dialogue to defuse the tension.
He said SLN was wrong to claim that his intervention put SLN's survival at risk.
Mr Neaoutyine said in this age it was no longer possible to exploit a site while ignoring the population and even less so by then signing a separate deal with some customary leaders.
He said SLN was prone to blackmailing New Caledonia and was now the victim of its inability to take into account the people near and around the mining site.