4 Apr 2016

Uncertainty at New Caledonia's Koniambo plant

3:22 pm on 4 April 2016

There is renewed uncertainty over the commitment of the mining conglomarate Glencore to New Caledonia's Koniambo plant.

Last week, it was reported that a deal had been struck for tax relief for a power plant at Koniambo while Glencore assured that no decision about its future engagement would be made before December.

But the territory's public broadcaster now says this won't override comments made earlier by the company's head who spoke of a June deadline to decide its future involvement in Koniambo.

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.

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.

An aerial view taken on September 22, 2015 in Voh, in North Province, New Caledonia shows the Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS) metallurgical plant belonging to Glencore and Societe miniere du Sud Pacifique.

The Koniambo Nickel plant in North Province, New Caledonia. Photo: AFP