The president of New Caledonia's Southern Province Sonia Backes says she expects the French government to come to the rescue of the SLN nickel company to stave off insolvency.
Backes, who is also a member of the French government, said the situation is quite simple.
She said if the government doesn't write out a cheque, SLN will close next year, which she said is not acceptable for anyone.
In 2016, SLN had already been given a $US600 million loan from its parent company Eramet and the French state, with the last instalment drawn down in September.
Backes said SLN's bankruptcy would not only mean the loss of thousands of jobs but also sink New Caledonia's social welfare system.
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