Vale to mothball New Caledonia nickel mine if no stake buyers found – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – December 8, 2017)

Vale will mothball its troubled nickel project on New Caledonia in the second half of next year if it has not found a strategic partner prepared to purchase a stake of 20 to 40 per cent, according to its chief executive.

Speaking to journalists in London, Vale boss Fabio Schvartsman said the Brazilian miner would not continue to “invest and lose money” on the loss-making mine, which cost billions of dollars to build and has been dogged by problems.

Asked when the sale process would end Mr Schvartsman said June after which time the mine would be put on care and maintenance if a partner had not been found.

Vale launched the search for a strategic investor earlier this year to share the burden of further investment at the mine in New Caledonia, a small French territory in the South Pacific.

It has held discussions with a number of Chinese companies that refine nickel for use in batteries that power electric vehicles. It is not clear if any of them are interested in buying a stake.

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