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New Caledonia’s green nickel plan to stand out in global market

Wednesday 11 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in New Caledonia, Regional

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New Caledonia’s green nickel plan to stand out in global market
Nickel mine in New Caledonia Photo: AFP

New Caledonia is looking to turn to more environmentally-friendly nickel production as countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines are able to manufacture the metal at much lower costs.

Indonesia is the world's top producer of Nickel followed by the Philippines, while New Caledonia is the fifth biggest.

This week Christopher Gyges from New Caledonia's energy transition project will present a plan to power New Caledonia's nickel factories using 50 percent renewable energy by the year 2030.

Gyges said the territory needed to make greener and cleaner nickel in order to stand out in the global market.

"We will never be cheaper than our Indonesian and Filipino competitors, we want to place ourselves as the champion of green nickel among the global market," he said.

The territory's three nickel factories are powered by charcoal or fuel, making New Caledonia one of the highest C02 transmitters per population and per year in the world with 29.6 tonnes, according to the Direction of the Mines and New Caledonienne Energy.

The New Caledonian company Prony Resources, has Tesla as its primary client producing 42,000 tonnes of nickel per year for electric car battery productions.

In December last year the industry concluded a partnership with TotalEnergies for the construction of a massive solar-powered plant which brings a total of 160 megawatts of energy.

The factory, which will cost a total of $US180 million, is due to be in service by 2025 and will cover two thirds of the electrical needs of the site.

Our emissions will be cut in half, 230,000 tonnes per year, with the first part of the factory finished by 2023 accommodating 40 megawatts said marketing and sales spokesperson of Prony Resources, Gabriel Bensimon.

Prony Rescources with the help of the New Caledonian government has also invested $US315 million to contain its mining residues dried, not humid, which is dangerous for the environment.