12 Jun 2020

New bid for Vale assets in New Caledonia

2:30 pm on 12 June 2020

Reports from New Caledonia say a rival bid involving South Korean interests has been mounted to buy the Vale nickel plant which is being sold to an Australian company.

After a decade of technical and financial difficulties and conflicts with the local population, the plant had hoped to return to profits in 2015.

A photo taken on May 27, 2015 shows Brazilian Vale's nickel processing plant of Goro in southern New Caledonia. Photo: AFP PHOTO / FRED PAYET

Last month, Vale said it had struck a deal with New Century Resources of Australia for the Melbourne-based miner to buy 95 percent of its assets.

A tentative agreement for a sale was signed, with its financing to be finalised within two months.

But the news agency AFP said an unnamed South Korean company is part of another bid by Sofinor, which is the majority owner of the Koniambo plant in the Northern Province.

The reports said Sofinor would acquire 56 percent and the South Korean company 44 percent.

Pro-independence politicians cast doubt on the viability of the Australian bid.

They have repeatedly pushed for the nickel resource to be kept in New Caledonian possession.

Vale of Brazil bought into the New Caledonian mining and nickel industry after Inco of Canada pulled out of the project.

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