5 Apr 2007

France's Eramet eyeing stake in New Caledonia's Koniambo project

3:47 pm on 5 April 2007

The French mining company Eramet says technological improvements it has developped in France are suited in the exploitation of the nickel resources in New Caledonia's north.

The head of Eramet, Jacques Bacardats, says the process is useful for the type of ores being used for New Caledonia's Koniambo project.

He made the comment as the project has been delayed because of increased development and construction costs which have now been put at three billion US dollars.

In 2005, Eramet lost its bid for a key stake in the project to Falconbridge of Canada in 2005 but subsequently the Canadian share has been bought by Swiss-based Xstrata.

Eramet says the ideal development for New Caledonia's nickel industry would be to consolidate its own SLN plant in Noumea with the northern project and see CVRD of Brazil build the Goro Nickel plant in the south.