8 Aug 2005

New Caledonia's northern nickel project still awaiting go-ahead

3:27 pm on 8 August 2005

Uncertainty continues to surround New Caledonia's project for a nickel smelter in the northern province.

The head of the Falconbridge/SMSP project, Aaron Regent, says the financing of the 2.7 billion US dollar project is not sealed yet although things are going well.

Speaking to the news agency, AFP, he declined to give details about the financial arrangements being pursued but he excluded getting a third partner involved.

Mr Regent says the project is expected to be finalised in latter third of the year.

Under a state-sponsored arrangement, an ore-deposit swap is to take place with the French Eramet consortium but the deal will only go ahead if the Falconbridge project commits 100 million dollars to the project.