1 Apr 2021

Vale concludes sale of New Caledonia nickel plant

3:35 pm on 1 April 2021

The Brazilian-owned mining company Vale has concluded the sale of its New Caledonia nickel plant.

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


Following months of disquiet in the French territory over the proposed sale, Vale has confirmed the consortium Prony Resources as new owner.

Pro-independence groups in New Caledonia had been firmly opposed to the deal because of the involvement of a Swiss commodity trader Trafigura in the consortium.

However Vale's chief executive officer, Eduardo Bartolomeo, said the sale would benefit the plant's New Caledonian employees and all its stakeholders.

He said it also enabled Vale to withdraw from New Caledonia in an orderly and responsible manner.

While the Brazilian company hasn't disclosed the exact terms of the deal, it said that $US1.1 billion would be invested in the New Caledonia assets.

As part of the sale agreement, Vale was entitled to a long-term nickel supply contract for a portion of the operation's production.

The company said this would allow it to continue to meet the growing demand for nickel from the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

Economic unrest and disagreement over the sale of the country's nickel unrest had earlier led to the collapse of the French territory's government, which was still trying to elect a new president.