23 Oct 2008

Major financing for New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel project pulled

8:15 pm on 23 October 2008

The global banking crisis has hit New Caledonia's SMSP mining company, which is a majority stakeholder in the multi-billion dollar Koniambo project.

The head of SMSP, Andre Dang, says new ways of financing have to be found after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and HSBC's decision to withdraw its commitments.

Our Noumea correspondent, Claudine Wery, says construction of Koniambo will go ahead with the partner, Xstrata, but new funding arrangements have to be found.

"Another French bank will only participate [for] half of what it has planned in the project, explained Mr Dang. The president of SMSP said it's a very serious crisis but that he can still find other partnerships."

Claudine Wery reporting