Nickel and No to Independence: New Caledonia Sticks to France – by Scott Tibballs (Nickel Investing News – November 6th, 2018)

Nickel Investment News

The French Territory of New Caledonia has voted to remain with the Fifth Republic, returning a 56 percent ‘no’ vote on becoming an independent state.
New Caledonia is the world’s third-largest nickel supplier with an annual output of 210,000 metric tonnes.

Mining and smelting is the backbone of the territories economy and would be the basis of the economy of a potentially future independent New Caledonia — a possibility still on the cards as the Noumea Accords signed in 1998 promised three referendums.

For the small pacific territory though, independence from Paris — which provides subsidies — would mean being exposed completely to the volatile nickel price, which has haunted miners in recent years.

A number of mining companies operate in New Caledonia, with Vale (NYSE:VALE) being the most prominent of the global miners.

Vale’s local operation, the VNC site, has long been plagued with problems, posting US$1.3 billion in losses from 2014 to 2016. It was over budget and late when it first opened in 2010, immediately coming up against local opposition.

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