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By Gary Park 

Inco moves ahead on two nickel mines


October 31, 2004

Inco, the world's second largest nickel producer, is now in pursuit of a 50 percent increase in output by 2009.

The Toronto-based company has ended a two-year hiatus by resuming work on its US$1.9 billion Goro project in New Caledonia and is six months ahead of schedule with its Voisey's Bay project in Canada's Labrador region.

It confirmed Oct. 19 that the C$3 billion Voisey's Bay undertaking will start production by late 2005, instead of closer to mid-2006.

The Goro project is now chasing a September 2007 start-up after heavy cost overruns forced design alterations that slashed US$500 million from the original cost.

Helping accelerate progress, Inco has signed a memorandum of understanding with two Japanese companies, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Mitsui.

When the deals are complete, Inco will hold 69 percent, the Japanese firms a combined 21 percent and local governments about 10 percent.

Income expects to produce 505 million pounds of nickel this year and boost that by 50 percent once Voisey's Bay and Goro are operating at peak in 2009.


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