NEW CALEDONIAN NICKEL MINE DISPUTE MAY BE OVER SOON

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (July 29, 1999 – Radio Australia)---A long running dispute over the Nakety nickel mine in New Caledonia, may soon be over.

The mine has been closed since mid-May, when local residents moved in after the owners, Ballande Group, introduced a restructuring plan under which half the staff of 30 would be released.

The Ballande group has now put forward a proposal which would permit the residents to take over operation of the mine.

Ballande would provide technical assistance.

A meeting next week is expected to ratify the agreement.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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