14 Nov 2011

Fire at New Caledonia Koniambo nickel project

7:37 am on 14 November 2011

There has been a major fire at the construction site of New Caledonia's nickel plant in Koniambo in the territory's north.

The nickel company says the fire broke out before dawn on Saturday and burnt down the site's administration offices.

There have been no injuries and the cause of the fire is not known.

However, the blaze comes amid a spate of suspicious fires across the territory.

The Koniambo project is expected to be completed next year at a cost of five billion US dollars.

The nickel plant is being built by Swiss miner Xstrata and a local firm SMSP, and is a key plank of a policy to boost the economic development of the mainly Kanak north.