6 Sep 2010

New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel project moves into new phase

1:58 pm on 6 September 2010

The first four Chinese-built modules have been shipped to New Caledonia's north as plans for the new multi-billion dollar Koniambo nickel smelter project appear to be on track.

17 such units are being built in China and their completion will require eight million workers' hours.

The plant, which will cost nearly four billion US dollars, will be more than 100 metres high and be the tallest such construction of its kind in the world.

1,500 people are currently employed on site and a further 3,000 workers are due to arrive from China, India and the Philippines to complete the establishment of the Koniambo plant.

The project is a key element of a decades-old policy to seek to develop the mainly Kanak north.

The northern province is a key stakeholder in the development, working in conjunction with the multi-national company Xstrata.