1 Feb 2016

New Caledonia's Koniambo holds on to Glencore support

7:56 am on 1 February 2016

The Swiss-based mining conglomerate Glencore says it is committed to investing in New Caledonia in 2016 despite massive losses last year because of the slump in the price of nickel.

Glencore has a 49-percent stake in the seven-billion US dollar Koniambo nickel plant which last year needed a furnace rebuild at a cost of about $US 60 million.

Late last year, Glencore warned of a possible pull-out, saying the company was not in the business of burning cash.

Koniambo nickel plant

Koniambo nickel plant Photo: AFP

The Koniambo plant is majority-owned by SMSP, which belongs to the pro-independence northern province and is seen as a key element in efforts to re-balance the territory's economy dominated by the southern province.

The new president of Koniambo, Marc Boissonneault, said the low level of production of late was not economically viable, making it a challenge for 2016 to cut costs.

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