Koniambo Nickel has contributed significantly to development of industrial development capabilities in New Caledonia’s Northern Province since it began operations there. Unfortunately, recent commodity price drops have combined with technical challenges, leading us to the difficult decision to retrench 250 employees and 750 contractors in 2015.
Throughout the decision-making period, Koniambo has maintained timely and transparent dialogue with local contractors, business partners, tribal leaders and the provincial government. It has also provided support for its workforce, host community and local small businesses.
Before the recent economic downturn, Koniambo ran a training initiative, in partnership with the provincial government, that trained 866 current and prospective employees. 51 completed pre-employment training in mine operations, seven undertook an 18-month superintendent training programme, and 44 completed a 12-month management development programme.
Koniambo also provided community schools with $175,000 to improve sanitation and learning environments.
Koniambo worked closely with tribal leaders and sub-contractors to mitigate the impact of downsizing. We held town hall meetings with sub-contractors, while its procurement team supported sub-contractors in diversifying their client bases, and helped them join business assistance programmes managed by the provincial government.
Koniambo also co-funded welding and scaffolding certification training with the provincial government, as well as HSE training and accreditation for first-line supervisors working for 16 local contractor companies. Nine employees achieved a health and safety certificate in 2015.