NEW CALEDONIA - Toronto-based INCO LTD. has sold a 21% ownership interest in its Goro nickel project to Japanese investors. The purchaser is Sumic Nickel Netherlands, a company jointly owned by SUMITOMO METAL MINING and MITSUI & CO. Cost of the transaction is approximately US$150 million, which includes the new partners' pro rata share of project capital and other expenditures made since Inco announced its development plans in 2001. Inco is left with a 69% share of the project, and 10% is held by three provinces of New Caledonia.
Although Inco announced its intention to develop the Goro laterite deposit in 2001, the project was plagued with cost overruns and became the subject of two reviews seeking ways to control capital expenditures. It was not until October 2004 that Inco again gave the green light to this US$1.878-billion project. Initial production is expected in September 2007.
More about the Goro project and Inco's Voisey's Bay nickel-cobalt mine development are available at www.inco.com.