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Nickel gleams again in New Caledonia

December 03, 2001 - 11:52 GMT Location: London

With no less than a quarter of the world's nickel reserves, New Caledonia is finally attracting the major players, including Inco, Norilsk and Falconbridge. A range of greenfield projects should see the territory experience a sustained boom, given expected long-term nickel demand, says Robin Paxton.

It has taken a long time and no little deliberation for Russian heavyweight Norilsk Nickel to venture beyond its motherland to seek a new production base. That it should happen in New Caledonia, at a time when Inco and Falconbridge are also pushing forward with ambitious new production plans, is an indication that the French-governed islands in the South Pacific, 1,400km off the east coast of Australia, are gearing up for a new nickel boom.Norilsk struck a deal at the end of July with Australian-registered Argosy Minerals to develop the Nakety orebody in New Caledonia. The Russian company is expected to earn up to a...

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