10 Sep 2007

SMSP to fund bulk of New Caledonia's northern nickel project

1:48 pm on 10 September 2007

The New Caledonian SMSP mining company has given its final approval to the latest version of building a nickel plant in the mainly Kanak north of the territory.

The minority stakeholder, Xstrata of Switzerland, commissioned a review into the project last year because of its high cost, but it is yet give its final approval.

Our correspondent in Noumea, Claudine Wery, says SMSP is now willing to contribute to the construction cost of the project.

"The main change of the new version is that SMSP will pay for the construction, they will pay for half of it. Before, the Koniambo and its nickel deposit was in participation of SMSP, which is 51 percent. But now SMSP will also pay for the construction."

Claudine Wery says SMSP is expected to pay about 1.5 US billion dollars.

The total cost of the project is estimated at three billion US dollars.