Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie is a world-class mining project and a key part of Vale's growth strategy. It is located on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia, an overseas territorial community of France. Nouvelle-Calédonie is among the best undeveloped laterite orebodies in the world, with excellent average grades, 55 million tonnes of estimated measured and indicated mineral reserves, and a very large resource base. The expected annual capacity of the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project is 60,000 metric tonnes of nickel and 4,300 to 5,000 metric tonnes of cobalt.
Vale holds a 69 percent interest in the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project. The three provinces of New Caledonia hold a 10 percent equity interest in the project, through their holding company Société de Participation Minière du Sud Calédonien (SPMSC) ensuring that the people of New Caledonia participate in and directly benefit from Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie. Through a jointly owned company called Sumic Nickel Netherlands, Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. Ltd. and Mitsui Co. Ltd. own the remaining 21 per cent interest in the project.
As of September 2007, construction at the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie site was two-thirds complete and engineering work was 90 per cent complete. Construction and commissioning are slated to end in 2008, with first production expected in early 2009.
The Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project will bring positive socio-economic benefits to the people of New Caledonia. When operational, the project is expected to generate approximately 800 jobs directly – a significant number in a territory that has an overall population of about 230,000 – and many more during the construction phase. It will also provide major long-term opportunities for local businesses and a stronger economic base for New Caledonia.
Community and environment
Community consultation and participation are essential to the success of the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project. Vale has been working closely with the people of New Caledonia to make sure that the project meets the socio-economic needs of the community and addresses any concerns along the way. This public consultation process involves representatives of key segments of the local Melanesian community -- tribal leaders, elected officials from neighbouring communities, women’s groups, youth groups, and others. Our goal is to work with the government and local communities to maximize the benefits of the project in terms of employment, business opportunities, and community development, and to also minimize any negative impacts.
Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie representatives and local community representatives are also participating on a "Committee de Pilotage". An initiative of the South Province on New Caledonia, the Committee de Pilotage that has been put in place to monitor the impacts and benefits of the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project and provide a forum to air views and concerns about employment and training, the involvement of local contractors, urban development, socio-cultural impacts, and small induced projects. Vale welcomes the opportunity to participate in this initiative.
Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie has implemented, jointly with the local Southern communities, a Local Community Involvement Program (LCIP) to enhance the participation of local individuals, contractors and businesses in the project. As part of this program, a contractor coordination centre has been established in Nouméa, which is a resource for local contractors as well as international contractors seeking local partners.
The Community Participation Program (CPP) is aimed at encouraging the involvement of Southern New Caledonians into the project, notably in the fields of employment and training. Two Community Coordination Centers were implemented, one in Mont-Dore and one in Yaté, in cooperation with the Southern Province Employment Service, to supply information about the project and employment or training opportunities. The opportunities are emphasized through periodic information meetings in the tribes and organized site visits.
The Business Participation Alliance (BPA) helps to optimize the involvement of small companies and owner-operators from the surrounding communities, which would not necessarily be able to participate in the Project given their size, capabilities and financial strength. This is achieved through special pre-defined work packages.
The Community Relations group of Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie works everyday on the ground in the communities applying different various programs : Community infrastructures construction works involving young people for training, cultural and sportive support with organization of many events and initiatives, educational support.
The Worksite Accord is an agreement signed by Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie and its social partners (employees’ and employers’ unions) in 2004 which sets out a number of specific elements related to the working conditions on site as well as conflict resolution mechanisms. This has proven to be an efficient and effective forum to discuss issues, share views, and establish a common understanding on a variety of workplace related topics.
Representatives of the government of New Caledonia and recognized hereditary leaders of the Melanesian communities adjacent to the project traveled to Toronto in October 2004 to express their support for Vale’s announcement of the project re-launch. Meanwhile, among the general population, opinion polls have shown that some 80 per cent of New Caledonians support the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project.
Vale designed the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project integrating the information gathered from over a decade of extensive environmental research in New Caledonia, a comprehensive environmental assessment process, and local community involvement.
For the past 10 years, prominent independent scientific groups have been conducting studies of the biophysical and socio-economic environments around the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie project, building an understanding of the surrounding unique natural environment and the potential environmental effects of the project.
The result is a truly world-class project with respect to environmental design and management – whether in terms of tailings management, reclamation and vegetal rehabilitation, or energy use.
For more information, visit the Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie website.
© Vale 2010
Last Updated: Friday, March 30, 2012