18 Oct 2007

Koniambo nickel plant welcomed in New Caledonia

5:48 pm on 18 October 2007

The President of Koniambo Nickel says the decision by the mining giant Xstrata to go ahead with a four billion US dollar deal in New Caledonia is great news.

The Anglo-Swiss company is calling the Koniambo project the most attractive undeveloped nickel resource in the world and key to future growth.

The project is a joint venture between Xstrata and the northern province's South Pacific Mining Group, SMSP.

Michel Rioux says Koniambo is due to start production in 2011 and reach full production of 60,000 tonnes of nickel a year from 2013.

He says today's decision shows great confidence in the planning team who have spent the last nine years working on the project.

"The decision by the board of Xstrata is great for the project team which worked so hard to demonstrate the feasibility - technical as well as financial - so after nine years this is quite a milestone and big satisfaction for the team."

Michel Rioux