The final agreement to sell the nickel plant in New Caledonia from the Brazilian group Vale, to a consortium led in particular by local authorities, was signed on Wednesday, an announcement welcomed by the French ministers of the economy and overseas. -Wed.
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At the heart of a conflict that has rocked the island for several months, this cession was the subject of a political agreement in early March between loyalists, separatists and Kanak customary chiefs.
The ministers of the economy, Bruno Le Maire, and overseas, Sébastien Lecornu welcomed this agreement in a press release, believing that it "will
possible to guarantee the sustainability of the company, central to the Caledonian economy
", with 1,200 direct jobs at stake, and 1,300 indirect jobs, which are expected to increase to reach 1,900 jobs by 2022.
500 million euros from the state
The plant is taken over by a consortium called “
Prony Resources New Caledonia
”, in which Caledonian communities, employees and traditional actors will hold 51% of the capital.
In detail, the three New Caledonian provinces will hold 30% of the capital, customary players 9% via an environmental preservation fund, and employees 12%.
The Swiss commodity brokerage group Trafigura will have a 19% presence, alongside the New Zealand fund AJO (30%).
To achieve this "
, because of the "
" for the territory, according to the Ministry of the Economy, the State has invested a lot, putting nearly 500 million euros on the table, in loan, loan guarantees and tax support.
Vale also agreed to leave in the coffers 550 million dollars (about 468 million euros), while the buyers will put on the table a little less than 100 million dollars (about 85 million euros), Bercy said. .
Antonin Beurrier, the director of the site, criticized by customary and separatist officials, will remain present as director general during a transition phase.
The project also includes a commercial and industrial partnership with the automobile manufacturer Tesla, whose batteries are the outlet for the Goro nickel plant, as well as an environmental development plan (Project Lucy).
Before the agreement at the beginning of March, the Caledonian independence movement had been opposed to this cession project for months, in a political context marked by the second referendum on the process of progressive decolonization of the archipelago.
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The factory was stormed by rioters on December 10, and has been at a standstill ever since.
The restart process is underway, said Wednesday the Ministry of Overseas, which expects a resumption of activity "
probably in April