In New Caledonia as in New Zealand, fight for manufacturers

In New Caledonia as in New Zealand, fight for manufacturers

One produces nickel and cobalt for electric batteries in New Caledonia, and the other produces aluminum in New Zealand. Governments are mobilized to prevent the shutdown of large factories that would affect the regional economy and local life.

What do the two big plants in New Zealand (Vale-NC) and New Zealand (NZAS) have in common? Two multinationals want to leave, but not necessarily for the same reasons, and a weaker economic context due to the global coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of jobs are at risk. Coincidentally, these two large factories are located in the far south of New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Southern Guru Plant (VNC) (nickel and cobalt)

© Claudine Wehrey, AFP

Southern Nickel and Cobalt Plant (Vale-NC)

In New Caledonia, the Southern Plant (Vale-NC) must save time and can count on great support. The File Like Milk on Fire by Sebastien Licorno, Minister for Overseas. For their part, the Caledonian government and the Southern Province as well as the Caledonian administration and the unions of the large industrial complex are trying to persuade the Vale administration in Brazil to postpone the deadlines for the “cocoon” From the factory, in other words its gradual closure. Officially, the management of the multinational company did not present its intentions in writing. But the abandonment of the new century, and the absence of concrete and quantified offerings of korea zinc, cast a shadow over the future of the South Caledonian plant.

Southern Aluminum Plant (NZAS)

Another plant is in an uncertain situation, this time in New Zealand. Planned closure of Large New Zealand Aluminum Foundry (NZAS) in Invercargill, In the far south of the country, it is a hot electoral issue. Thousands of jobs are at risk as New Zealand struggles with the economic effects of the coronavirus. The future of the industrial center is one of the main issues in the upcoming general election campaign scheduled for October 17.

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political share

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to negotiate and get a three to five-year delay before the final shutdown of the aluminum plant (NZAS) by Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. “By requesting an extension of the deadline, we are protecting jobs now and giving society time to consider and plan for future opportunities, in particular renegotiating tariffs for electricity being provided to the industrial hub,” announced. “We are always open to discussions that would allow for a more equitable cost of electricity”Kelly Parker, general manager of Rio Tinto’s Asia Pacific operations, responded in an emailed statement. Ardern’s rival, opposition National Party leader Judith Collins, has also pledged to keep the foundry open by facilitating talks between Rio Tinto and Trans Power The main power supplier of the foundry, if he wins the election.


South plant in New Zealand. Aluminum Industrial Park (NZAS) in Invercargill

© Rio Red

The crux of the matter is the cost of electricity, which is a very high cost according to Rio Tinto. The Anglo-Australian multinational wants to renegotiate it, which could prevent the closure of the industrial hub, which is less competitive than Canadian and Australian competitors who benefit from cheap electricity. New Zealand Smelter The New Zealand Aluminum Smelter (NZAS) consumes about 12% of the country’s electric power. The factory directly employs more than 1,000 people, as well as 1,600 other indirect jobs in this southernmost region of New Zealand, 2,600 kilometers from New Caledonia.

Currently, Rio Tinto has indicated its intention to close the plant in August 2021 and has made clear that no decision on the future of the aluminum smelter will be made before the October 17 general election in New Zealand. Rio Tinto added that it was ready to continue discussions with the incoming New Zealand government.

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