New Century pulls pin on Vale acquisition

Port facility at the Goro operation. Image: Vale

New Century Resources has dropped its intention to acquire the Goro nickel-cobalt mine in New Caledonia from Vale.

Despite New Century’s due diligence and business analysis indicating “strong potential” for long-term operations at Goro, the company has not been able to generate the required funding for the acquisition.

As a result, the New Century board has elected not to submit an offer for Goro within the exclusivity period, which has now lapsed.

Commercial negotiations with the Goro mine owner, Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie (VNC) had ensued since May.

Vale will now place the Goro mine on care and maintenance, with “the highest degree of responsibility and respect for employees, the natural environment and safety”.

Should no solution be found in the coming months, the company will prepare to shut operations down completely.

Vale chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo confirmed that the company would commit to dam maintenance and other social obligations, including sticking to the pact for sustainable development of the Great South.

“Vale and everyone involved in the divestment process, including the South province of New Caledonia, the French state and VNC management continue to explore alternatives to create a viable future for VNC, all of which will contemplate Vale’s exit,” Bartolomeo said.

“We remain hopeful of a positive outcome and are working with all the parties involved with that purpose in mind.

“All parties to this negotiation have invested significant effort in an attempt to reach a solution for the sustainable future of VNC.”

Vale is continuing the search for a purchaser for VNC, analysing the expertise and capacity of potential buyers as well as their commitment to upholding VNC’s social and environmental obligations.

The Goro plateau is one of the most prospective areas for mining in New Caledonia, hosting oxidised lateritic and saprolite ores, rich in iron oxides and magnesium-silicate material, respectively.

Vale has been conducting open pit mining at the Goro plateau since 2003.

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