New Caledonia: nickel, an essential resource for France

New Caledonia: nickel, an essential resource for France

Tensions erupted Wednesday, December 9 in New Caledonia after the announcement of the sale of a nickel plant to an international consortium. The exploitation of this metal represents an important strategic stake for France.

New Caledonia: nickel, a strategic resource for France

French territory located in the Pacific, New Caledonia concentrates 25% of the world’s nickel resources. This makes France the fifth largest producer on the planet, behind Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia and Canada. Nickel mining is all the more crucial with the energy transformation underway, as this metal is considered to be the “fuel” of the ecological revolution. It is for example very useful for recharging the batteries of electric cars.

A sector in difficulty

In New Caledonia, nickel is produced in both large quantities and of high quality. But the industry faces serious financial challenges. Each year, the State must therefore inject hundreds of millions of euros to support the sector. The archipelago is itself very dependent on this raw material, which is its main wealth and represents 90% of its exports. The sector employs one in five Caledonians.