23 Nov 2010

Xstrata upbeat about New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel project

1:47 pm on 23 November 2010

The Swiss miner Xstrata is on schedule to launch its Koniambo nickel plant in the north of New Caledonia in mid-2012, completing the project within budget.

The financial director of Xstrata-Nickel, Shaun Usmar, has praised the progress made so far on the plant, which will have a capacity of 60,000 tonnes

a year.

He has told local media that during the global financial crisis of 2008, nothing slowed down at Koniambo, which will become the most profitable project in the world.

Following the launch of the plant, the Kanak-owned company will receive 12 percent of dividends, with the proportion gradually rising as SMSP pays off a loan taken from Xstrata to provide its share of the finance.

After 25 years, SMSP will have a 51-percent controlling stake in the project.