In 2005, André Dang made a first meeting with the South Korean POSCO, one of the largest stainless steel producers in the world. Discussions advocated an innovative partnership model between a miner and a steelmaker, eliminating intermediary costs and enabling cost reduction processing of a low grade ore. The partnership project was specifically focused on the enhancement of poor ore.
Two joint venture are set up in which SMSP has a 51% controlling interest and POSCO has 49%: the mining joint venture NMC SAS supplies the metallurgical Gwangyang plant in South Korea, with ore sourced from its mining centres at Ouaco, Poya, Nakéty and Kouaoua in New Caledonia. The other joint venture and industrial branch SNNC Co. Ltd., ensures processing of the ore in the Gwangyang plant.
The plant, with a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes of nickel metal contained in ferronickels, conducted an extension in 2011 to achieve by 2016, a nominal capacity of 54,000 tonnes by lowering the nickel ore of 2.27% to 2.07%.
SNNC sells its entire production to stainless steel mills of POSCO, ensuring him a sustainable supply of ferronickel. By backing the mining resources in an efficient and competitive industrial tool, the partnership SMSP / POSCO ensures the sustainability of the operation and preservation of jobs in NMC mines.
André Dang proposed the partnership project to POSCO.
Paul Néaoutyine, the Northern Province Assembly’s President and André Dang, the SMSP’s President and CEO, visited Korea as POSCO guests. Signing of a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding).
Setting up of SMSP/POSCO working groups to define the project and draft a MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) which will be signed later in February 2006.
Establishment of the two companies NMC and SNNC.
Agreement and assistance by the South Korean government for SNNC.
Beginning of the Gwangyang Plant’s construction works.
The Northern Province Assembly approved and authorized the transfer of SMSP’s mining titles to NMC. Closing of the agreements between SMSP, POSCO, SNNC and NMC.
Passing of a country law approving the tax free transfers of SMSP shares.
First loading of ore intended to gauge the furnace.
Lighting of the electric furnace of 94MW.
Launching of operations.
Reaching the full production capacity.
Decision of SNNC shareholders to proceed to the expansion of the plant operated by SNNC .
SNNC signing of a MOU and kick-off ceremony for the expansion of the Gwangyang Plant.
Decision of NMC shareholders to initiate an investment program dedicated to the doubling of NMC’s production capacity.
Inauguration of the second production line.