NEW CALEDONIA MINE OFFERED MAJOR TAX BREAKS

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France promises US$230 million in exemptions

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 20, 2008) – The French government says it will grant a key nickel project in New Caledonia’s north tax exemptions worth US$230 million.

The concession has been made to Xstrata of Switzerland which is to build the Koniambo nickel plant at an estimated cost of US$3.8 billion.

The project is expected to create 2,000 jobs during its construction phase and is to be completed by 2011.

The mine and plant have as main stakeholder the SMSP company owned by the northern province.

France has backed the Koniambo project as a way of developing the economy of the mainly Kanak north of the territory.

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