6 Jan 2005

France gives US$500m tax rebate to New Caledonia nickel project

9:22 am on 6 January 2005

The company running a major nickel mining project in New Caledonia has won significant tax rebates from the French government.

The Canadian mining giant Inco says it has "entered into the necessary agreements" for its project at Goro in the south of the territory, and has obtained an initial five hundred million US dollars in tax rebates.

This programme is expected to involve the lease financing of a total of about US$500 million in equipment and other assets for the process plant.

Inco's chairman and chief executive Scott Hand yesterday expressed his company's gratitude to the French government "for their efforts".

Inco is making provisions for New Caledonia's three provinces to become shareholders in the venture.

This would take place by reducing the share held by the French Government from the current 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

The five per cent would be re-allotted to the three provinces.