January 16, 2011 / 10:53 PM / in 9 years

New Caledonia SLN resumes nickel mining, eyeing new cyclone

SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) - New Caledonia’s Societe Le Nickel (SLN) has begun to resume mining operations after cyclone Vania passed over the South Pacific island over the weekend, but was monitoring a second storm in the region, a company spokeswoman said on Monday.

SLN, a subsidiary of France’s Eramet , and producing around 5 percent of the world’s nickel, suspended mining at its five locations ahead of the storm.

The spokeswoman said SLN was tracking cyclone Zelia, which did not pose an immediate threat to its smelting and mining operations as it was expected to pass south of the island without touching land.

The cyclone, on Monday morning, was located 350km west of Noumea, Caledonia’s capital, with gusts of up to 200 km per hour, according to the South Pacific news service.

The Doniambo smelter operated by SLN in Noumea produces about 55,000 tonnes of nickel a year from ores supplied by the mines. (Reported by James Regan and Cecile Lefort; editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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