4 Dec 2003

New Caledonia's Goro nickel plant to be built by Anglo-Canadian consortium

9:40 am on 4 December 2003

The Canadian mining company, Inco, has chosen a new company to build New Caledonia's Goro nickel plant which is projected to cost about 1-point-8 billion US dollars.

Its head in Noumea, Pierre Alla, says the contract to build the plant in the very south of the main island has been given to an Anglo-Canadian joint venture, called CEG, which has been formed for this purpose.

CEG is made up of Foster Wheeler and SNC Lavalin.

The announcement comes after the region's biggest planned project was put on hold last year over fears of its viability because of cost overruns of about 45 percent or 600 million dollars.

Mr Alla says the company has learned the risks of moving too fast on the project which was initially set to start production in 2005.

He says there has been an amicable split with the previous engineering group, Bechtel.

Mr Alla says talks are still underway with the French state to get tax relief worth about 350 million dollars.