?Pierre Gugliermina, CEO Société Le Nickel (SLN), in his meeting with Indonesian Consul-General for Noumea, Widyarka Ryananta (21/01), offered his support for the enforcement of Mineral and Coal Mining Law No. 4, Year 2009, particularly on the obligation of mining investors to build smelters in Indonesia.
“We express our appreciation to Indonesian government that has given an positive example in developing nickel industry by processing nickel ore before they are exported,” said Pierre.
Piere who has joined SLN for 5 years underscores that as a region that has 25% of world nickel’s reserve, it becomes the main export commodity of New Caledonia. The value of nickel’s export in 2013 reached USD 1.03 billion, 94% of New Caledonia’s income from export. Meanwhile, SLN in the same year has exported 55 thousand tons of nickel to Japan, Europe and North America. The decision to process nickel ore to nickel before they are exported faces a lot of challenges, especially from import companies. However, SLN considers it is important to process nickel ore to be developed to nickel products in order to add the value.
Consul-General Widyarka explained that Mineral and Coal Mining Law regulates that all raw minerals are prohibited to be exported and must be processed in Indonesia starting from 2014. To support the enforcement of the law, Indonesian government injects Rp. 7 trillion to continue the construction of ferronickel smelters of PT Antam in Northern Maluku and other related projects. Furthermore, Consul-General Widyarka said, “We hope that business to business cooperation between Indonesian and New Caledonia could be enhanced by exchanging information to improve the quality of nickel products.”
SLN is the biggest nickel mining company in New Caledonia operating in four (4) locations and it exports the best quality of nickel and ferronickel for Japan, Europe, and North America markets. The company whose shares owned mostly by French company ERAMET (56%) and New Caledonia’s company, Société Territoriale Calédonienne de Participation Industrielle (34%) was established more than 100 years ago and it produces 60,000 tons of nickel annually. Besides SLN, there are two big nickel mining companies namely Koniambo Nickel SAS (KNS) and Société Miniére du Sud Pacifique (SMSP).
The history of nickel mining in New Caledonia could not be separated from the roles of Javanese sent there by Dutch East Indies. There are about 20,000 Javanese sent there from 1896 to 1955. Most of them work at nickel mining there, the country located opposite France.