Operations have started at the $7bn Koniambo Nickel project (Koniambo) in New Caledonia, which is jointly owned by Glencore and Société Minière du Sud Pacifique (SMSP).
Koniambo mine is located in the North province of New Caledonia, a French territory 1,210km east of Australia in the south-west Pacific Ocean.
Construction started in 2007 and the project includes a mine, an ore preparation plant, a metallurgical plant, coal and gas plants, water purification and treatment plants, a power station and a port.
The facility, which is equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure and advanced nickel smelting technology, was inaugurated by French President François Hollande.
Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said: "We are honoured that the French President has recognised Glencore's ongoing commitment to and investment in New Caledonia by officially opening Koniambo Nickel.
"This inauguration marks a milestone for our New Caledonian operations and for the country's nickel industry.
"We look forward to continuing our well-established collaborations with the local community, government and our joint venture partners as we continue the ramp-up period to nameplate capacity of 60,000t per annum."
Once fully operational, the mine will generate employment for 950 people, thereby promoting both local and indirect employment.
Image: Koniambo Nickel mine is located in the North province of New Caledonia. Photo: courtesy of Bananaflo / Wikipedia.