15 Dec 2005

Falconbridge offers vigorous defence for nickel plan in northern New Caledonia

10:46 am on 15 December 2005

The president of the Canadian company Falconbridge says his firm will vigorously defend a plan to operate a nickel project in the north of New Caledonia.

Aaron Regent was speaking during a two-day visit to the French territory, where his company has committed more than US$2 billion to build a nickel smelter at Koniambo.

The northern provincial government of New Caledonia in partnership with Falconbridge, is set to get the titles to a huge and valuable deposit of nickel ore, if an irrevocable decision to start construction at Koniambo is made before the end of the month.

The rival company, the French state-owned Eramet has filed a claim in the French courts alleging that it has the rights to the deposit of ore.