16 Dec 2005

Final commitment for nickel project in northern New Caledonia expected

3:27 pm on 16 December 2005

A much-vaunted two billion dollar nickel mining project at Koniambo in the north of New Caledonia is expected to receive its final commitment from its main investor, Canadian miner Falconbridge, early next week.

Falconbridge's chairman, Aaron Regent, has spent most of this week in New Caledonia to finalise talks with its financial partner, the northern provincial government.

The chairman of SMSP, the northern provincial government's financial arm, André Dang, said a board meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday or Wednesday.

France has agreed to give the northern provincial government the rights to a valuable deposit of nickel ore if it can make an irreversible decision by the end of December 2005 to start construction at Koniambo.