30 Mar 2016

Glencore maintains New Caledonia stake

3:58 pm on 30 March 2016

The Swiss-based mining conglomerate Glencore has confirmed its commitment to New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel plant.

The territory's public broadcaster says this follows talks between the French overseas minister, George Pau-Langevin, and the head of the conglomerate's nickel division.

It reports that a deal has been struck for tax relief for a power plant at Koniambo while Glencore has assured that no decision about its future engagement will be made before December.

Glencore has a 49-percent stake in the seven-billion US dollar Koniambo nickel plant which last year needed a furnace rebuild at a cost of about $US 60 million.

Late last year, Glencore warned of a possible pull-out, saying the company was not in the business of burning cash.

The Koniambo plant is majority-owned by SMSP, which belongs to the pro-independence northern province and is seen as a key element in efforts to re-balance the territory's economy dominated by the southern province.

An aerial view taken on September 22, 2015 in Voh, in North Province, New Caledonia shows the Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS) metallurgical plant belonging to Glencore and Societe miniere du Sud Pacifique.

The Koniambo Nickel plant in North Province, New Caledonia. Photo: AFP

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