Nikel Minning in Northern New Caledonia ( Koniambo )

Koniambo Ferronickel Project

The Koniambo program will develop one of the world’s largest and highest-grade nickel laterite depositsThis project in the North Province of New Caledonia is a joint venture between Société Minière du Sud Pacifique and Xstrata Nickel (formerly Falconbridge Limited). This greenfield, pyrometallurgical facility will comprise a 60,000-t/yr ferronickel smelter for the extraction of nickel from saprolitic ore mined from the Koniambo ore body. Koniambo is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped nickel laterite deposits.

Facilities at this world-class nickel operation will include the laterite mine; ore treatment plant and ore-transport and stockpiling facilities (including a 12-km, 700-tph overland conveyor system); a pyrometallurgical ore-processing plant; coal pulverisation plant; nitrogen/oxygen plant; cooling water systems and other utilities; a two-line 340-MW circulating fluid bed boiler coal-fired power plant; and other infrastructure including a port and coal stockpiling.

Scope of Services
In June 2005 Hatch and Paris-based joint-venture partner Technip were awarded the EPCM contract for the Koniambo Nickel Project. Construction for early works began in 2006, with production startup targeted for April 2012. The project team is based on site in New Caledonia, Technip’s Kuala Lampur office and in Hatch’s Brisbane office, and supported by teams in Hatch’s Mississauga office.

Prior to this, Hatch’s involvement with the Koniambo project since 1998 had consisted of scoping studies and other project development work undertaken either singly or with other parties. This was followed by the completion of a prefeasibility study in a joint venture with Technip in 2002. Thereafter, the Hatch-Technip JV had continued to provide assistance to Xstrata Nickel in anticipation of the bankable feasibility study, which commenced in September 2003 and was completed by the end of 2004.

In September 2004, the Hatch-Technip JV was retained to prepare application files for operating and construction permits to meet the stringent French and New Caledonian protection-of-the-environment standards and to assist Roche with the completion of the environmental and social impact assessment.

The permitting process was important to the client in order to demonstrate to the New Caledonia administration that the project will comply with all applicable orders and decrees. The process had to be completed and the permits received before construction could begin. This process was completed and permits were received in December 2005.


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