9 Nov 2016

French loan ready for Vale in New Caledonia

5:15 pm on 9 November 2016

The French government has decided to offer the Vale nickel plant in New Caledonia a $US220 million loan for ten years to prop up its production.

The subsidiary of the Brazilian mining concern Vale has been hit by the nickel price drop which triggered plans to either close or mothball the multi-billion US dollar plant in Goro.

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Photo: RNZ / Vale

The French state has already committed itself to support the SLN plant in Noumea amid expectations that assistance may be extended to the Koniambo plant in the territory's north.

The Vale plant has been dogged by cost over-runs and acid spillage which have prevented it from reaching the originally projected output.

The other plants have also been incurring losses since the slump of commodity prices in recent years.

New Caledonia has huge nickel ore reserves, with nickel accounting for the bulk of its exports.

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