8 Nov 2005

New Caledonia mining bid creates new twist

4:28 pm on 8 November 2005

There is more uncertainty surrounding New Caledonia's nickel projects.

The Mail on Sunday in Britain says that the Swiss-based company, Xstrata, was making a fresh bid to take over Falconbridge of Canada which has a big stake in a nickel project in New Caledonia's north.

The paper says Xstrata is to bid more than Inco of Canada which is set to merge with Falconbridge,

Press reports from France say Falconbridge has been given another six months by France to finalise its project in New Caledonia.

Under an agreement reached in 1998, the project at Koniambo was to benefit from massive state subsidies if the project was launched by the end of the year.

At the weekend, the president of the northern province told local television that Falconbridge was to announce its decision by November the 15th.

Inco has a major project under way in the south of the territory.