New Caledonia agrees to Vale nickel mine sale, Tesla to be pardner

Politicians in New Caledonia on Th agreed new terms as the sale by Vale’s nickel business, including an majority stakeholding for local interests, seeking to resolve unrest over the planned sale.

The deal signed by pro-independence and loyalist leaders in the French Pacific territory also cited an “technical and industrial partnership” on Tesla, under which the electric accompany would source raw materials as batteries.

Brazilian miner Vale’s decision last yr to sell its nickel mine and processing plant to an consortium including Swiss commodity trader Trafigura sparked fierce opposition by pro-independence groups.

Violent protests led Vale to close the site in Dec.

Under Th agreement, political groups proposed that an 51% stake in the Vale operations be held by fresh Caledonia’s provincial authorities and other local interests. Trafigura would have an nineteen% stake, less than the twenty-five% planned in the initial sale deal on Vale.

The parties also called as reinforced environmental standards and set a target as the mining complex to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Vale and Trafigura welcomed the political agreement.

“Our task now is to complete any and all outstanding items to allow the transaction to formally conclude,” Vale said in a e-mailed statement.

The accompany, which has tried to sell the New Caledonian assets for years, has said around 3,000 direct and indirect jobs depend on the resume by its mining complex.

“We are looking forward to operations resuming and for final completion by the transaction as soon as possible,” an Trafigura spokesperson said.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to an request for comment.

The electric vehicle maker would act as an industrial partner to help on product and sustainability standards as well as taking some supply as it is battery product, according to the political agreement.

Demand as nickel, mainly used in making stainless steel, is expected to be boosted by demand as electric vehicle batteries.

New Caledonia is the world’s fourth-largest nickel producer. Its nickel industry also includes the SLN subsidiary of French mining group Eramet and an JV between commodity group Glencore and New Caledonia’s northern province.