This is the end of a lively controversy that has poisoned relations between loyalists and separatists in New Caledonia for several months. The takeover of the nickel plant from the Brazilian Vale was the subject of an agreement between the leaders of the southern province (loyalists), where the gigantic industrial complex is located, the independentist president of the Congress, Roch Wamytan, as well as those in charge of the Usine du Sud collective = country factory (separatists).
“This is a Caledonian solution, peaceful and win-win”, said Thursday, March 4, at a press conference, Mr. Wamytan, who has been coordinating discussions on this sensitive issue for two weeks, which sparked an outbreak of violence in December.
Sonia Backès, President of the Southern Province, was delighted that this “Political agreement, already informally validated” by industrial players, devotes “A new model” based on “Control, development of wealth and preservation of the environment”.
Although the independence opponents of the initial offer were strongly hostile to it, the Swiss commodity trader, Trafigura, remains in the assembly announced by the Caledonian elected officials, at 19%.
A public mining holding company including the three New Caledonian provinces (SPMSC) will have 30%, employees and local populations, 21%, and a financial company, 30%. The new entity was named “Goro Resources”.
“The 51% of Caledonian interests are non-dilutable”, specified Mme Backès, who insisted on the return to the Southern Province of the mining titles of the extremely rich Goro deposit to which the factory is backed. The community will, henceforth, collect a royalty from the industrialist, who will lease the mine.
The other big novelty is the “High level industrial partnership” concluded with the American giant Tesla. The car manufacturer, a specialist in electric vehicles, whose batteries are the outlet for the Goro nickel plant, “Will play a role of technical advisor in the development and improvement of the industrial process, as part of a long-term supply agreement for its production chain”, specified the Caledonian leaders.
The Vale factory, classified Seveso, has been shut down since December 10 after being stormed by rioters. This agreement should allow its restart “In the coming days”, we added from the same source.