16 Nov 2010

New Caledonia nickel price to settle at US$25,000

2:31 pm on 16 November 2010

An international conference on nickel in New Caledonia has been told that the price for the metal is expected to settle in the 20,000 to 25,000 US dollar range per tonne for the next few years.

The figure was given by Jim Lennon of Australia's Macquarie Bank as 300 industry delegates are in Noumea to discuss prospects following the slump during the global financial crisis.

There is a consensus that China will have high demand for the metal but will manage to produce some of its own needs by using pig iron which will mean that a return to the 2007 peak price of 50,000 dollars won't be likely.

New Caledonia, which has about a quarter of the world's nickel reserves, is set to get a production boost once the delayed Vale Inco project becomes operational.