27 Nov 2006

New Caledonia's northern nickel project to start next year

2:45 pm on 27 November 2006

A meeting of New Caledonia's SMSP mining company and Swiss-based Xstrata has agreed to spend 100 million US dollars to start the Koniambo project in the territory's north next year

New Caledonia's daily newspaper says money is to be disbursed to build among other things an operational base for 250 people for the Koniambo project which is now assessed at costing about three billion US dollars to build.

More talks are scheduled in France to see what sort of tax relief is available for the construction of a power station and a port.

The Koniambo project is seen as key in re-balancing the territory's economy which has been a long-standing demand by the indigenous Kanak people who mainly live in the north.