Reuters reported that France’s Eramet said it would make a fresh effort this year to stem losses at its nickel business in New Caledonia to avoid a cash crunch next year. Chairman and CEO Ms Christel Bories said that Previous efforts to reduce production costs at the SLN unit suffered a setback last year due to higher energy prices, exchange rate effects and protests at its New Caledonian mines. Ms Bories said of SLN that „We know that if we don’t do anything, if the plan is not implemented and economic conditions remain as currently, we will have a cash problem in 2020.” She said that „We can’t continue like that,“ she told reporters on a results call. The SLN unit’s production cost, or cash cost, of nickel rose to USD 5.8 a pound in 2018 from USD 5.1 in 2017 and Eramet said it was now aiming to lower it by USD 1.3 by 2021. Ms Bories said that the group wants to implement in the coming months a recovery plan based on increasing exports of low-grade nickel mineral, adopting new working hours and lowering electricity costs. She added that however, the plan depends on approval from the authorities for extra exports, price negotiations with the local power supplier, and staff backing for working practices. Strikes against new working hours have added to disruption caused last year by blockades of certain mines in environmental and political protests.

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