The head of New Caledonia's Goro Nickel company says nickel production at its site is set to start by the end of October or beginning of November.
The dates were given by the Goro general manager, Phil Du Toit, who said that US$2.8 billion has been invested to date for the plant to be about 70 percent completed.
But he said full annual production of 60,000 tonnes of nickel and 4,500 tonnes of cobalt would only be achieved after about three and a half years of operation.
Mr Du Toit says in New Caledonia, the Goro Nickel project has created economic benefits in the range of US$700 million since 2004.
The project is owned by Vale of Brazil which took it over from Inco of Canada in 2006.