10 May 2010

Date for New Caledonia's Vale Inco nickel plant launch still uncertain

4:03 pm on 10 May 2010

New Caledonia's Vale Inco nickel company says it is still too early to say when its operations can be launched amid technical problems that are yet to be resolved.

The company's head in New Caledonia, Peter Poppinga, has told Noumea's daily newspaper that after the spilling of 670,000 litres of a solution, investigations are still continuing.

The company says it has the world's leading specialists on site and hopes to get the four-billion- US dollar plant operational within two months.

It is not known how much the latest delay is costing the company after it had earlier been forced to put off the plant's launch, which was originally due last year.

Vale Inco says in the meantime it plans to sell unrefined nickel to companies in Australia, China and Finland.