Tag Archives: New Caledonia

Vale sells New Caledonia nickel-cobalt operations to consortium

Vale confirms that its Vale Canada Limited subsidiary has concluded the sale of its ownership interest in Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie SAS (VNC) to the Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium.

The consortium of investors, including Trafigura, comprises a majority and non-dilutable shareholding for New Caledonian interests, Vale said.

Eduardo Bartolomeo, CEO of Vale, said: “After several months of negotiations, I am pleased that we concluded our divestment of VNC, benefitting employees, New Caledonia and all its stakeholders. Vale is fully committed to this transaction. It meets the guarantees required at the financial, social and environmental levels and offers a sustainable future for the operations.”

Vale’s intent from the beginning of the divestment process was to withdraw from New Caledonia in an orderly and responsible manner, with the company saying the deal accomplishes that.

Vale previously tried to sell the operations to Australia-based New Century Resources, but the two parties failed to reach an agreement.

The deal provides the former VNC operations with a financial package totaling $1.1 billion, of which Vale Canada Limited is contributing $555 million to support the continuity of the operations. The financing of the “Pact for the Sustainable Development of the Deep South” will also be secured by Vale, it said.

The Pact for Sustainable Development of the Deep South was signed on September 27, 2008, between Vale New Caledonia and communities south of the “Grand” for a period of 30 years. It urges the industry to create and implement specific measures to support the development of the Deep South in a sustainable manner.

In addition to its financial commitment to continue operations, Vale will continue to have the right to a long-term nickel supply agreement for a proportion of the operation’s production, allowing it to, the company says, continue addressing the growing demand for nickel by the electric vehicle industry.

Mark Travers, Executive Vice President for Base Metals with Vale, said: “Along with the continuation of the Pact, the deal also allows the Lucy Project for dry storage of tailings to proceed. We want to acknowledge the time and effort of all stakeholders to achieving this deal, including the French State, and especially the employees of VNC for their trust and support through a lengthy and uncertain process.”

VNC is a producer of nickel and cobalt from the Goro mine. It also has a processing plant and a port.

Komatsu to boost Australia East Coast supply chain with new Wacol distribution centre

A major new distribution centre that, Komatsu says, will significantly increase customer satisfaction by improving parts and components availability, further reduce order turnaround times and streamline ordering efficiency, will be opened by the OEM in the June quarter of 2021.

Komatsu’s new Wacol distribution centre – which will also include elements of its Brisbane parts and components Reman operation – will consolidate four existing distribution and storage centres into a single facility.

Construction of the new Wacol centre, which is currently underway, is scheduled to be completed by May 2021, in time for Komatsu’s global centenary celebrations.

According to Russell Hodson, Komatsu’s General Manager, Supply Chain, the key driver of the new facility is to improve customer satisfaction across its Queensland, New Zealand and New Caledonia operations.

“Customers in these regions – which includes large mining customers – are currently serviced from our various Brisbane facilities, and by consolidating them into a single operation, we anticipate a marked improvement in customer satisfaction,” he said.

“The new facility will also be much safer for Komatsu employees and service providers, making use of the latest warehousing technology and systems, including anti-collision systems and full worker/machine separation throughout.

“In addition, we’ll see improvements in quality by bringing storage of all parts and components under cover, while a one-part/one-location approach will eliminate the chances of binning and picking errors – further contributing to improved customer satisfaction.”

Komatsu will also see some significant efficiency and cost benefits through consolidation to a single facility, maximised space utilisation, and lower transport costs, it said.

“We’re also going to in-source our warehousing operations so all staff will be Komatsu employees, which will better enable us to continue our ongoing program of continuous improvement,” Hodson said.

“At this new facility, we’ll employing 50 new people into Komatsu; we see this as a great opportunity to build a fantastic team that can deliver extraordinary results for our customers in a new and exciting facility.”

The development of this new facility was part of Komatsu’s broader East Coast supply chain strategy, according to Hodson.

“This strategy aims to improve the flow of our goods and information to our customers,” he said. “And there’s much more to come as we strive to continuously improve our operations for the benefit of our customers.”

Being constructed on a 3.8 ha site adjacent to its existing Queensland head office, service, training and customer support facility, the new centre covers nearly 17,000 sq.m, with an order picking storage area of just under 14,500 sq.m, and an extra large parts/components storage area of over 2,000 sq.m, it said.

“When it opens, our new Wacol DC will also fully integrate our mining and construction operations for Queensland, NZ and New Caledonia,” Hodson said.

Cedric Laney to help direct Vale Base Metals innovation roadmap

Cedric Laney has been appointed to the role of Principal Mining Engineer for surface mines at Vale’s Base Metals Technology and Innovation division, the company has confirmed.

In this role, Laney will lead the innovation roadmap, technical governance and engineering support for the Base Metals division’s surface mines. He will report to Samantha Espley, Head of Mining, Technology & Innovation for Vale Base Metals.

“This is a critical role to aid in guiding technical applications in the mines resulting in improved safety, sustainability, and profitability,” Espley said.

Laney has held several key leadership positions at Vale’s Goro operations in New Caledonia (pictured), most recently as the Manager for Mine Engineering and Construction and, last year, as the Mine Manager.

“His guidance and knowledge over the last seven years has been instrumental to bring success to the team in Goro,” Espley said, adding, “He will be missed by his many colleagues there.”

Komatsu reacts to skills shortage issue with recruitment drive in Australasia

Komatsu has announced what is thought to be the most targeted recruit campaign in the industry as it looks to bolster its local employee base across Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

The drive – its biggest to date – is intended to identify and provide opportunity for highly capable technicians who want to be part of the machinery sector and take advantage of global opportunities in the future, the company said.

“The campaign comes on the back of a rapid upturn in construction, utilities and mining after a period in which the industry had been left with a skills shortage, especially amongst the next generation of technicians,” Komatsu said.

Komatsu’s search is being conducted in regional areas to overcome industry negatives of family dislocation and concerns about job longevity traditionally associated with fly-in-fly-out operations.

“Suitably qualified recruits are being offered careers close to their homes in a purposeful drive to achieve a satisfying work-life balance,” the company said.

Komatsu has identified related industries such as the military, marine and aeronautic sectors as well as the passenger vehicle, and light and heavy commercial vehicle markets as catchment areas for potential candidates.

“We intend to create a truly inclusive and diverse workforce which will collectively work towards creating new and innovative ideas that sustains our Komatsu into the future. We know our industry needs to be more receptive of this and, in particular, increasing our female workforce is a key part of our diversity and business growth strategy,” Komatsu said.

Komatsu, which employs some 3,000 people, runs an in-house training academy spanning a multitude of applications, including new high-technology machinery and business programmes.

Its GPS based Komtrax system, SMARTCONSTRUCTION programmes and aspects of its information communications technology protocols have achieved industry-leading standards in technology-based solutions, it says.

Colin Shaw, Executive GM People and Strategy, said: “The days of a machinery technicians being reliant on a spanner and mechanical tools are passing us by for a more innovative technology future.

“Mobile technology is the new tool of choice for trouble shooting diagnosis and improving the productivity of our intelligent machines.”

Part of the recruitment drive is based on providing applicants with upskilling opportunities that can turn jobs into life-long careers, Shaw said.

“Skills gained in the Komatsu system are valued in the open market and are transferable to other occupations, although it is our intention not to lose people we’ve trained,” he said.