Vanuatu Government Not Interested In Santo Nickel Smelter

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Minister of Land and Natural Resources dismisses rumors

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 22, 2014) – Vanuatu's government has ruled out a reported project to build a nickel plant in Santo.

A joint venture was signed last week between New Caledonia's MKM company and China's Jin Pei to build the one-billion US dollar plant.

Their reported plan was to mine New Caledonia's low quality ore reserves and ship them to a smelter in Santo.

However the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Ralph Regenvanu says the government was never approached and knows nothing about it.

He adds that it's not something his country would approve anyway.

"No, we're not interested in it. The area they're talking about is a premier tourist destination in Vanuatu. This is where Champagne Beach is and some of the best, sandy beaches in Vanuatu. So we're not interested in putting a mine there," says Regenvanu.

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