Vale is putting its Goro nickel mine in New Caledonia up for sale.
The mine has been an albatross for the Brazilian company, as it never realized its production targets. The company had initially expected the mine to reach production of 50,000mt of nickel in oxide and hydroxide in three years. However, by 2018—the mine’s seventh year of operations—it achieved production of 32,500mt after years of delays, including acid spills. In 2017, 40,300t was produced.
Vale’s expected 2019 production of finished nickel products from VNC source material is 23,000mt, 60pc below target.
In recent years, the company had been looking for a partner to help it manage the mine, but after finding no takers, and prompted by what it believed was an imminent electric vehicle revolution, Vale decided to invest $500mn on an on-site waste storage facility.
Goro has been hampered by acid spills, arson attacks believed to have been perpetrated by locals opposed to the project, and other delays. The project came in over budget and two years behind schedule, and lost almost $1.3bn between 2014 and 2016.