The operator of New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel project says the longterm viability of its operation means it is of great importance to the territory's ability to stand on its own feet.
The development arm of New Caledonia's North Province, SMSP, is the 51% partner in the Koniambo mine and two associated plants, one in New Caledonia and one in Korea.
Koniambo's local plant was launched in April, six years after work began on the five-billion US dollar project, part of moves to develop the economy of the mainly Kanak north.
SMSP's Director of Public Relations Dominique Nacci says the Koniambo mine has created many jobs and more benefits will flow to local communities with first dividends expected in three or four years.
"This is a struggle for access to mining, access to know-how and to get added value out of the mining resources. Nickel is providing New Caledonia with more autonomy."