Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.This article was originally published – April/2006
Another major Canadian player in New Caledonian nickel is Toronto’s Falconbridge Ltd. (soon to be swallowed by Inco Ltd.). Falconbridge and its 51% joint venture partner Société Minière du Sud Pacifique S.A. (SMSP), are developing the Koniambo Project in the northern part of the island for start up, perhaps as early as 2009.
Last month, Falconbridge and SMSP (which is owned primarily by the North Province) created an operating company, Koniambo Nickel S.A.S. under the leadership of president Brian Kenny. Koniambo Nickel will hold title to the Koniambo deposit. On March 1, the French minister of overseas territories François Baroin laid the ceremonial first stone for the Koniambo project.
The following day the Koniambo Nickel board met to approve this year’s work program. Preparing the earthworks and advancing the project engineering are the top priorities for 2006. Dredging of a port will begin early in 2007, and the main construction period will be 2008-09. Production will begin very late in 2009 or early in 2010.