18 Oct 2004

Goro nickel project could restart in New Caledonia

8:21 am on 18 October 2004

The government of the southern province of New Caledonia is expected to approve a large nickel processing plant.

The Canadian company Inco is also expected to announce tomorrow in Toronto that building work will restart on the Goro project.

Goro was called off two years ago when costs over ran by nearly to nearly fifty per cent -- intial costs for the development had been set at 1.4 billion US dollars.

If completed, the AFP new agency says the project will be the biggest factory in the South Pacific and one of the largest in the world.

The plant will be the first in the French territory to treat laterite rocks with sulphuric acid in order to extract the nickel.

Local Kanak people - along with environmental groups - been opposed to the plans since they were first drawn up, because of the project's impact on its natural surroundings.