Brazilian mining firm Vale has completed the divestiture of its stake in Vale New Caledonia (VNC), which operates the Goro nickel mine and a processing plant in New Caledonia, to the Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium.
The transaction includes a $1.1bn financial package, of which $555m will be contributed by Vale to support operational continuity.
With the transaction, the Usine du Sud operation in New Caledonia will be majority-owned by New Caledonian interests, including Prony Resources employees, communities and government entity Société de Participation Minière du Sud Calédonien, who jointly hold a 51% stake in Prony Resources.
Along with an offtake agreement for the Goro Resources nickel production, Trafigura owns a 19% stake in the Usine du Sud operation.
The remaining 30% stake is indirectly held by Prony Resources management and international investment firm Agio Global.
Prony Resources New Caledonia CEO Antonin Beurrier said: “It ensures a successful and sustainable future for the operation that will preserve 3,000 direct and indirect jobs and ensure the successful completion of Project Lucy for dry storage of tailings, the largest private investment on the island for the next three years, creating 600 new jobs.”
Additionally, the Brazilian company committed to securing funding of the ‘Pact for the Sustainable Development of the Deep South’.
Vale CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo said: “After several months of negotiations, I am pleased that we concluded our divestment of VNC, benefitting employees, New Caledonia and all its stakeholders.
“It meets the guarantees required at the financial, social and environmental levels and offers a sustainable future for the operations.”
However, Vale will have the right to a long-term nickel supply agreement for a proportion of the production from the Usine du Sud operation.
Vale base metals executive vice-president Mark Travers said: “Along with the continuation of the Pact, the deal also allows the Lucy Project for dry storage of tailings to proceed.”