Construction work at the Ramu nickel project in Papua New Guinea has been stopped by authorities because of health and safety issues, Reuters reports.

PNG chief mines inspector Mohan Singh ordered a withdrawal of workers pending the implementation of health and safety measures at the predominately Chinese-owned $1.37bn project.

Construction work at the China Metallurgical Construction Group project was disrupted last month after industrial action caused fighting among workers, the reports.

The project is expected to begin operations by the end of the year and produce about 31,500t of nickel and 3,300t of cobalt.