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Glencore, French open $7bn nickel mine in New Caledonia

François Hollande and Ivan Glasenberg

François Hollande and Ivan Glasenberg

Photo by Bloomberg

17th November 2014

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

  

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JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – French President François Hollande on Monday officially opened the new $7-billion Koniambo nickel project in New Caledonia, a territory of France that is located 1 210 km east of Australia, in the south-west Pacific Ocean.

The joint venture (JV) between the London-, Hong Kong- and now also Johannesburg-listed Glencore and Société Minière du Sud Pacifique (SMSP) saw Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, SMSP president André Dang and Koniambo Nickel president Peter Hancock join President Hollande at the launch.

New Caledonia-based SMSP, a nickel-ore exporter with JV processing operations in China and South Korea, is a founding partner in the 2 000-employee Koniambo, a ferronickel exporter.

Under way since 2007, the project will make use of state-of-the-art infrastructure and proven nickel smelting technology.

The majority-Glencore-financed project provided 2 750 direct local jobs, 1 500 indirect jobs and 150 000 hours of training, injecting €1.9-billion worth of direct benefits into the area.

Eighty-five per cent of the contracts and orders went to New Caledonian suppliers for an operation that will provide ongoing employment to 950 people.

A series of initiatives to protect the area’s rich environmental diversity have accompanied the project, on which ten years were spent on environmental-impact assessments prior to the start of construction.

The mangroves removed to create a deep-water port have been replanted and a local community nursery is cultivating mangrove seedlings as part of an ongoing revegetation programme.

Erosion control measures have been introduced to protect threatened species and 1 200 colonies of coral were transplanted as a protective measure during port and channel construction.

Regular marine sampling has kept track of coral reef and local stakeholders shared the results of weekly ambient air quality monitoring on a website.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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