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Eramet / France Promotes Projects To Rationalize Facilities For Nickel Production In New Caledonia
= Aiming To Reduce Cost For Nickel Production By US$1.00 Per Lb. Of Ni
Eramet of France announced on the 19th of November that, in order to strengthen a power for nickel production at SLN (Societe Le Nickel) in New Caledonia, a subsidiary of the Eramet Group, Eramet has decided to carry out a series of the projects for rationalization of its facilities during the next several years.

The countermeasures to reduce cost for nickel production are (1) SLN sets up a new plan to produce 65,000 tons per annum of nickel during the next 5 years and, as an intermediate arrangement, is scheduled to produce 60,000 tons per annum in 2012., (2) SLN has to save Euro 90 million on full-year basis during a period of 2012 to 2018., and (3) In line with these strategies, SLN sets up the structure to employ 2,100 workers by 2012 ( for a reference, SLN has employed 2,385 workers in 2009 ) with the aim of avoiding any redundancies.

On the other hand, Eramet will construct a new electric power generation plant at the Doniambo refinery, solely for its own needs, and is scheduled to complete this construction during the end of 2011 to the beginning of 2012. Eramet said that the cash cost to produce nickel at the Doniambo refinery in New Caledonia as of 2008 was US$7 per lb. of Ni and also its full cost was US$8 per lb. of Ni.

The inevitable factors to raise the cost for nickel production are mentioned by Eramet as <> the weakened exchange rate of US-Dollar against Euro currency and <> a steep rise of prices for fuel oil and coal. However, Eramet also pointed out that nickel content in ore produced at nickel mines of SLN in 2008 fell to 2.65% from that (2.80%) produced in 5 years ago and this negative factor caused to increase stripping ratios, haul distances together with a lower productivity.

The Euro 90 million savings on a full-year basis during a period of 2012 to 2018 are scheduled to be implemented in relation to nickel production in New Caledonia and Eramet said that this arrangement has aimed rather to reduce the cost for nickel production by US$1.00 per lb. of Ni than to save fixed charges. This measure to reduce the cost for nickel production is understood as at unchanged electricity prices.

Another main factor to reduce the cost for nickel production is a reduction of employees and SLN employed 2,482 workers in 2008 and 2,385 workers in 2009 but plans to reduce the employees to 2,100 workers as a final target with the aim of avoiding any redundancies.

For a reference, Eramet has been continuing to invest in the rationalization of facilities at the Doniambo nickel refinery of SLN in New Caledonia and, particularly, these investments are <> to renew four rotary kilns out of five kilns and <> to renew two electric furnaces out of three furnaces for nickel refining. Also, Eramet invested Euro 800 million in construction of a new beneficiation plant at the Tiebaghi nickel mine. All of these investments done from 2000 to nowadays have targeted to rationalize nickel production in New Caledonia.
last modified : Fri 27 Nov, 2009 [10:27]
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