Xstrata Nickel’s Koniambo Nickel project has gone into production with first metal tapped this week.

xstrataProduction marks a key milestone for this complex $5 billion greenfield project in New Caledonia, which has been under construction for the past six years and has been a flagship component of Xstrata’s organic growth programme. At the height of its construction more than 6,000 people were employed in building the project and its associated infrastructure.
First metal production signals the start of Koniambo Nickel as a multi-decade, tier one asset with long-term cash costs at the bottom of the second quartile. At peak production the mine will further cement New Caledonia’s position as one of the most important nickel producers in the world and provide steady employment for approximately 800 workers, with a focus on local employment, and indirect employment for thousands of others.
Ian Pearce, Chief Executive of Xstrata Nickel, said: “All components of the mining and smelting process have now been successfully tested, leading to production of metal from Line 1. The production of first nickel metal at Koniambo after six years of complex design and construction is a huge achievement and a source of great pride for all of our employees. We are on track to deliver the full production rate of 60,000 tonnes per annum by the end of 2014 as scheduled, while maintaining excellence in terms of environmental and safety performance at this world-class industrial complex.”
About Koniambo Nickel
Koniambo Nickel SAS is developing a world-class industrial complex that at peak production will further cement New Caledonia as one of the most important nickel producers in the world. Benefitting from one of the largest and highest grade undeveloped nickel resources in the world, it will be a low-cost and long-life operation committed to sustainable development.
Once construction is complete, Koniambo Nickel will operate a mine, a pyrometallurgical nickel smelting process plant, a power plant and other complementary infrastructure, including a deep water private port and 11-km overland conveyor.
Located near the North Province capital of Koné in New Caledonia, Koniambo Nickel is a catalyst for regional development. Through the employment of 750 permanent staff and long-term relationships with local contractors and suppliers, Koniambo Nickel truly represents a unique opportunity for surrounding communities to shape their future as well as the future of the North Province and New Caledonia.
About Xstrata Nickel
Xstrata Nickel, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is one of Xstrata Group’s global commodity businesses. We operate mines and processing facilities in Canada, the Dominican Republic and Australia, and a refinery in Norway. We also have a world-class portfolio of growth projects in New Caledonia, Tanzania and Brazil.
We are the world’s fourth largest nickel producer, with annual managed production of almost 106,000 tonnes of nickel. We produce some of the world’s purest nickel, ferronickel and cobalt and are one of the largest recyclers and processors of nickel and cobalt-bearing materials. Nickel-containing materials play a vital role in modern life and can be found in everything from cooking utensils, cutlery and saucepans, to medical equipment, mobile phones, wind turbines, computers, coins, and marine and aerospace engineering. For more information, visit www.xstratanickel.com.
About Xstrata plc
We are a major producer of a range of vital commodities used in everything from constructing buildings and delivering electricity, to developing jet engines and mobile phones. We are one of the top five global producers of copper, thermal and metallurgical coal, ferrochrome, zinc and nickel and we also produce silver, lead, platinum, gold, cobalt and vanadium.
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Switzerland, we operate in over 20 countries and employ over 70,000 people at more than 100 operations and projects around the world. We work in a responsible and sustainable way, with an entrepreneurial spirit and dynamic approach. For more information, visit www.xstrata.com.