France says will help nickel industry in New Caledonia
PARIS Feb 6 (Reuters) - France committed on Saturday to support the nickel sector in the Pacific territory of New Caledonia which has been severely hit by a slump in prices amid a mounting supply glut.
The main nickel players on the island are Eramet in which France is the second shareholder, miner and commodity trader Glencore and Brazil's Vale, the world's leading iron ore producer.
"Measures will be taken soon to consolidate all the sectors of mining and metallurgy," a summary of a meeting between Prime Minister Manuel Valls and local representatives said on Saturday, without giving further details.
Eramet's nickel subsidiary SLN said in December it planned to cut costs by around 80 million euros in 2016, a move that would be in addition to Eramet's decision to suspend major investment projects including a new power plant in New Caledonia.
The meeting participants agreed to quickly seek ways to organise a revamp of the plant, which provides electricity to its Doniambo nickel mine and smelter.
France said it would help Eramet find solutions to the crisis, including finding necessary investments and financing.
Nickel prices are trading near their lowest level since 2003 on the London Metal Exchange. (Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and Gus Trompiz, writing by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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