11 Mar 2003

New Caledonian business leader confident suspended nickel plant will go ahead

11:32 am on 11 March 2003

The president of New Caledonia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Michel Quintard, says he is confident that the Goro nickel project will be up and running within a year.

600 million US dollars has been spent on it so far and sources say its completion could cost another two billion dollars.

Access to the proposed plant is being blocked by workers who have lost their jobs when the Canadian nickel company INCO suspended the project for a review last December.

But Mr Quintard is confident, saying there is a huge demand for nickel workdwide.

"the Inco project started very very quickly... even too quickly for us because the local companies were not ready.... and we were surprised by the very sudden stop by Inco.... in spite of the rumours I am very confident of the continuation of Inco"