27 Oct 2009

New Caledonia's Vale-Inco could be in for a rough start says analyst

7:47 am on 27 October 2009

An analyst says one of the biggest mining projects in the world, New Caledonia's Vale-Inco, could be in for a rough start should production begin next year.

The nickel plant is now expected to be up and running by January.

The launch has been delayed several times due to technical problems, including a huge spill at its sulphuric acid plant, which is now being re-designed.

A senior analyst at Ord Minnett in Australia, Peter Arden, says there's currently a surplus of nickel on the market.

"We've seen a significant build up of stockpiles of nickel. And we have not only the New Caledobia project about to start, but there are two other projects also which are building up, one in PNG the other in Brazil, that will also impact on this saturated supply, so we're quite intrigued that the nickel price held up as it has."

Peter Arden says the current market seems to be in denial of that fact, but a slump in price is expected next year.