New Caledonia elects independence candidate Louis Mapou as president

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MELBOURNE, July 8 (Reuters) – New Caledonia elected Louis Mapou as its first pro-independence president since an agreement with Paris in 1998 to grant more political power to French Pacific territory, Radio Australia reported Thursday.

The election comes a few months before the third and last referendum the island can legally hold on secession from France under the 1998 accord, known as the Noumea Accord.

Two previous referendums in 2018 and 2020 failed to secure a majority in favor of independence, but support for the rest of France fell from 56.7% in 2018 to 53.26% in 2020.

Mapou sits on the board of directors of French Eramet (ERMT.PA), which manages nickel mines, the Doniambo ferro-nickel plant near the port of Nouméa and a refinery that produces a type of nickel that can be used in batteries of electric vehicles. .

He also held the position of Director General of the Rural Development and Territorial Planning Agency of New Caledonia from 1998 to 2005.

The nickel-rich territory has sparked new interest from international companies looking for materials to fuel the current electric vehicle boom.

Electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has entered into a technical and industrial partnership with a consortium including Trafigura trading house, Prony Resources, which this year bought out a nickel company in the territory, previously owned by the Brazilian. Vale (VALE3.SA). Read more

Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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