New Caledonia eyes 'nickel boom'

21st February 2012, Comments 0 comments

New Caledonia is set for a nickel boom in 2012, a government analyst said Tuesday, with the French Pacific territory eyeing a significant boost in production to meet increasing global demand.

Government economic expert Olivier Sudrie said growth in nickel, an essential ingredient in producing stainless steel, had reached three percent in 2011 compared to 3.7 percent in 2010.

Sudrie predicted a "major nickel boom" with exports expected to generate 1.9 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in 2012 compared to 1.1 billion euros in 2007.

New Caledonia is home to 25 percent of the world's nickel reserves and is currently the sixth largest global producer.

With firms such as French company Eramet, Brazil's Vale and Switzerland's Xstrata all due to increase production in 2012 in New Caledonia, the territory is forecast to rise to second place, producing more than 200,000 tonnes a year.

© 2012 AFP

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