18 Dec 2003

France backs New Caledonian nickel ventures

5:18 pm on 18 December 2003

The French government will make available more than 1-point-2 billion US dollars to support two major nickel projects in New Caledonia.

The French high commissioner based in Noumea, Daniel Constantin, says 630 million dollars will be given to support the SMSP's plan to build a smelter in the north of the territory in a project with the Canadian company, Falconbridge.

He says this should allow SMSP to have 51 percent of the capital for the project which has been seen as vital for the development of the mainly Kanka north of the island.

In the south of the main island, 548 million dollars will be released to support the Goro nickel project.

The announcement follows repeated expressions of support by French leaders.