NEW CALEDONIA - Vale SA of Rio de Janeiro announced on Aug. 9 that its Goro nickel laterite project produced its first nickel metal product. Plant commissioning is nearing completion, and the refinery is expected to be in production by the end of this year. The plant has an annual nominal capacity of 58,000 tonnes of nickel and 4,000 tonnes of cobalt byproduct.
The Goro project was bedevilled with numerous delays and setbacks, not to mention a price tag that ballooned to US$4.3 billion. The nickel price has seesawed during nearly 20 years of planning and construction. The use of high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) technology has proven problematic. Local opposition has been stiff. And an acid spill at the plant site last year delayed the planned start of operations.
Readers planning to visit New Caledonia may contact the Goro Niquiel SA offices at 5, rue Paul Doumer, BP 218, Noumea Cedex - 98845 or phone 687-2460-20.