London — The Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium announced March 31 it has completed acquisition of Vale Canada’s Nouvelle-Calédonie S.A.S. (VNC) nickel and cobalt operation. Prony Resources is owned by New Caledonia entities together with international commodities trader Trafigura.
Operations at Prony Resources recommenced in the week of March 28 with the restart of nickel production expected mid-April, the company said in a statement.
The operation, designed to produce up to 57,000 mt/year of processed nickel, with cobalt as a byproduct, is believed to have been at a standstill since mid-December 2020, following protests by independence activists on the Southwest Pacific French island territory of New Caledonia. Prior to this it had been producing below capacity.
VNC had been dogged by environmental protest and refinery issues since its Goro nickel and cobalt mine started up in 2011.
The transaction with Prony Resources involved a $1.1 billion support package for VNC, Vale said in a statement. Vale Canada Limited will contribute $555 million of this to ensure operational continuity, and Vale will also finance the Pact for Sustainable Development of the Extreme South, which will also play a part in the project’s development.