PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) – French mining company Eramet said its loss-making SLN nickel division had received a boost from the New Caledonia government approving a sharp rise in SLN’s nickel ore exports. Eramet shares rose around 5 percent in early trading.
The company said the decision would allow SLN to export its lower-grade nickel ore, which in turn would allow SLN to cut its costs. It added the move would help it execute a broader strategy plan to reduce SLN’s cash cost by $1.30 per lb by 2021.
“I would like to thank the government of New Caledonia and all the stakeholders who contributed to this decision,” said Eramet Chairman and CEO Christel Bories. “This is a sign of confidence in the successful implementation of the SLN rescue plan.”
The government in the French Pacific territory authorised SLN to export 4 million tonnes of nickel ore annually for 10 years, Eramet said.
SLN, which had already increased its ore exports to a record 1.2 million tonnes last year, said it would aim to reach 1.5 million tonnes in 2019 and reach an export pace equivalent to 4 million tonnes annually by mid-2020.