24 Jan 2022

Nickel price rise boosts New Caledonia economic outlook

2:42 pm on 24 January 2022

Nickel producers in New Caledonia are buoyed by a sharp rise in the price of the metal amid rising demand and low inventories.

On the London market, nickel futures have risen by 21 percent in the past month to more than 24,000 US dollars a tonne, the highest since 2011.

Nickel accounts for almost 90 percent of New Caledonia's exports.

The share price of Eramet, the French parent company of New Caledonia's SLN nickel company, has jumped by 37 percent since the start of the month.

This file photo taken on May 27, 2015 shows Brazilian Vale's nickel processing plant of Goro in southern New Caledonia.

Photo: AFP

SLN, which is the territory's largest private sector employer, had been struggling with losses.

The price boost also helps the Koniambo plant in the Northern Province, which - like the other producers - had suffered from sagging prices.

In October, Prony Resources in the Southern Province struck a deal with the car manufacturer Tesla to supply 42,000 tons of the metal for use in batteries.

The price rise is also being linked to the recent rhetoric surrounding Ukraine as there is concern supply from Russia's nickel producers could be impacted by a military conflict.

Nickel is used in the production of stainless steel and can also be found in mobile phones and batteries.