6 Jan 2009

New Caledonia's SMSP secures more loans to build Koniambo project

2:32 pm on 6 January 2009

New Caledonia's SMSP mining company has secured more funding for its Koniambo nickel project in the territory's north.

The Nouvelles Caledoniennes newspaper says a 200 million US dollar loan from two French financial institutions has been signed up in what is the biggest borrowing ever signed up in the territory.

The paper says the loan is for 20 years and to be repaid once the project is complete.

The banks and the head of SMSP, Andre Dang, say the signing of the loan agreement marks a sign of confidence in the future of nickel, New Caledonia and the smelter in the north.

According to Mr Dang, one billion US dollars has been invested in the Koniambo project so far, which has now created work for more than 900 people in New Caledonia.

The latest banking deal follows a credit arrangement with the miner Xstrata, after SMSP was hit by woes caused by the collapse of the US bank Lehman Brothers.