New Caledonia Nouvelle-Calédonie - Business Advantage ...

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New Caledonia Nouvelle-Calédonie - Business Advantage ...

4

Wala

Bélep Archipelago

NORTHERN ISLANDS

Poum

Ouégoa

Pouébo

NORTHERN PROVINCE

COR AL SEA

Ouvéa

0 2000KM

Koumac

Kaala-Gomen

Hienghène

Touho

Fayaoué

Chépénéhé

Poindimié

Voh

Ponérihouen

KONÉ

Houaïlou

Poya

Poro

Népoui

Kouaoua

Canala

Bourail

Thio

Moindou

La Foa

Boulouparis

COR AL SEA La Tontouta Païta

Lifou


Tiga

La Rouche

Tadine

Maré

Dumbéa

Yaté

0 km 50

NOUMEA

Mont-Dore

Isle Ouen

Isle of Pines

Vao

Farino

Sarramea

SOUTHERN PROVINCE

New Caledonia is a unique Pacific territory.

Politically French and geographically part of

Melanesia, it is the closest Pacific territory to

Australia’s populous east coast. It is by far the most

developed Pacific economy, thanks principally

to the long-standing and large nickel mining sector and ongoing

financial subsidies from the French State.

This combination means that the GDP per capita of this small

group of islands is at first-world levels—higher than New Zealand

and close to that of France itself. New Caledonia’s infrastructure,

commercial development and Government services tend to

surpass those elsewhere in the Pacific, offering potential investors a

comfortable and stable environment in which to do business.

While New Caledonia is a French territory, it is increasingly

autonomous from la Métropole (as France is called). New

Caledonians are due to vote on full independence as early as

2014. It is by no means certain that independence will be the

final outcome, but the move towards greater autonomy seems

irreversible. As of July 2010 the territory has two official flags—the

French tricolore and that of the indigenous Kanak population.

mAJOR NEW PROJECTS

Nickel mining and processing is the major industry,

notwithstanding the brief slump caused by the 2008/9 global

downturn. About 25% of the world’s nickel reserves reside in New

Caledonia. In addition to extensive existing operations, there are

two major new nickel projects under way on the main island of

Grand Terre—the Xstrata-led Koniambo/ in the Northern Province

[Province du Nord] and Vale’s Goro project in the Southern

ECONOmIC UPDATE

LOYALTY ISLANDS PROVINCE

GREATER AUTONOmY, GREATER PROSPERITY

As it gains increased autonomy from France, New Caledonia continues to develop its economy

thanks in part to two major new mining projects.

A FRENCH TERRITORY WITH INCREASED AUTONOmY

New Caledonia became a French possession in 1853 and is

now classified as a French overseas territory—a territoire

d’outre-mer. It was a penal colony for four decades from

1864. Agitation for independence during the 1980s ended

in the 1988 Matignon Accord, itself confirmed by the 1998

Province [Province Sud]. These represent an investment of more

than US$7 billion in the New Caledonian economy (for more on

New Caledonia’s mining sector, see page 10).

While the major components of the projects are already

determined, there are many opportunities to offer goods

and services to the projects as well as to provide building

and construction services for the infrastructure and housing

‘The process of ‘rebalancing’ the New

Caledonian economy—for so long

dependent on the prosperous South—is

undoubtedly under way.’

developments growing up around them, especially in the

underdeveloped North.

‘We need the financial capacity, technical skills and know-how

of international businesses,’ Victor Tutugoro, Second Vice-

President of the Northern Province, tells Business Advantage.

While this remains the case, the process of ‘rebalancing’ the New

Caledonian economy—for so long dependent on the prosperous

South—is undoubtedly under way.

CONSTRUCTION BOOm

The new nickel projects are not the only factors driving activity

in building and construction. Estimates suggest that about 1000

hectares of land in New Caledonia are being redeveloped at any

one time.

Noumea Accord. Since then, New Caledonia has become

increasingly autonomous. The agreement also commits

France to conduct as many as three referenda between 2014

and 2024 to decide whether New Caledonia should assume

full sovereignty and independence.

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