21 Jan 2015

New Caledonia Koniambo plant reopening

2:40 pm on 21 January 2015

New Caledonia's Koniambo nickel plant is set to resume production after a spill last month shut down the plant.

Koniambo nickel plant

Koniambo nickel plant Photo: AFP

About 500 tonnes of liquid nickel was spilled from one of the furnaces, incurring millions of US dollars of damage in the most serious incident at the seven-billion US dollar plant.

The authorities have now given the all-clear for production to resume at one furnace while repairs at the other are being completed.

The plant, which was officially opened by the French president Francois Hollande in November, already experienced a blast just before Christmas, briefly affecting production.

The Koniambo plant is widely seen as the key industrial site to advance the economy of the mainly Kanak northern province.