One of the largest nickel mines in New Caledonia, the Goro Mine, has been forced to reduce its production following a leak from its tailings dam. The facility is connected to Tesla, with reports last year stating that American electric vehicle maker was poised to become a technical adviser to the mine. Tesla reportedly secured a deal to directly purchase up to one-third of the Goro Mine’s nickel output over the next five years as well.
While its output is notable, the Goro Mine has been neck-deep in challenges over the years. When it was being sold to Prony Resources, protests from groups seeking independence from France for New Caledonia ended up delaying the facility’s sale. The mining industry in New Caledonia has also been mired in controversy as it is linked to the exploitation of the island nation’s indigenous Kanak people.
As per a spokesperson from owner Prony Resources, the Goro Mine reported a “limited release of salt-laden liquid” following heavy rains in August. While the issue was addressed, corrective measures required by local authorities indicate that the Goro Mine’s nickel output would be reduced in Q4 2022.
“The corrective measures required by the South Province mean that Prony Resources New Caledonia’s nickel production will be reduced in the fourth quarter. The minimum quantities required by our customer contracts will be met, and we expect to be at full capacity again shortly,” the company stated, according to a Bloomberg News report.
The Prony Resources spokesperson did not provide more details about the Goro Mine’s output. A specific date when the facility’s production would return to its normal levels was not shared as well.
The reduced output of the Goro Mine this Q4 comes at a time when demand for nickel is rising due to the growing popularity of electric vehicles. Nickel production is rising in countries like Indonesia, the world’s top nickel supplier. Incidentally, Indonesian officials have been urging Tesla to build a dedicated facility in the country.
This was highlighted by previous comments from Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who noted that Indonesia doesn’t just want a battery factory — it would like Tesla to build a car factory in its territory as well. “What we want is the electric car, not the battery. For Tesla, we want them to build electric cars in Indonesia. We want a huge ecosystem of electric cars,” the Indonesian President said.