21 Aug 2007

New Caledonia awaits decision on Koniambo in October

3:14 pm on 21 August 2007

New Caledonia's Koniambo Nickel conglomerate says it has revised its smelter project in the territory's north and will announce its decisions by early October.

Koniambo is a venture combining the northern province's SMSP company and Swiss miner Xstrata which replaced Falconbridge of Canada as the minority foreign stakeholder.

Speaking in Toronto, the head of Koniambo, Michel Rioux, says the companies' boards need to approve the plan which will determine whether the smelter will be built.

Estimates put the cost of the proposed project at more than three billion US dollars.

A review was ordered after fears of cost overruns.

The northern project is seen as vital in the development of the territory's mainly Kanak north.