30 Sep 2015

Concerns in New Caledonia over nickel price

3:21 pm on 30 September 2015

There is concern in New Caledonia over the slump in nickel prices and the sharp drop of the share value of Glencore, which is a key stakeholder in the Koniambo nickel plant.

Koniambo nickel smelter

Koniambo nickel smelter Photo: Supplied

Glencore has lost about 15 billion US dollars in recent weeks and it is uncertain if it will fund major repairs of a furnace at Koniambo.

The seven-billion US dollar plant was built with funds from Glencore which has reportedly been seeking to get a majority stake in the plant.

Talks have been held in Paris between the French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, and the head of Glencore Nickel, Kenny Ives, but the nature of the discussions is unknown.

A union leader in New Caledonia has told the local newspaper that there are fears that jobs will be lost.

The Koniambo plant, which was officially opened by the French president Francois Hollande in November, is widely seen as the key industrial site to advance the economy of the mainly Kanak northern province.

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