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Brazil's Vale: New Caledonia Nickel Mine to Restart in 4Q

RIO DE JANEIRO--Brazilian mining heavyweight Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) will restart its VNC nickel project in New Caledonia in the fourth quarter, the company's director of base metals and information technology said Thursday. Speaking during a conference call with analysts and investors, Vale's Peter Poppinga said that "we are going to repair the acid plant and start it up at the end of [the third quarter] and start production in [the fourth quarter]." Nickel production at VNC was shut down in May 2012 after an accident in the operation's acid plant. An investigation pointed toward a technical defect that caused a water leak at the plan, leading to dilution of the acid and causing corrosion at the plant, the company said previously. The ramp-up of the Onca Puma nickel project in Brazil is also halted because of issues with two ovens, Mr. Poppinga said. "We're still assessing the extent of repairs and time required to perform them," Mr. Poppinga said, adding that the mine will likely be shuttered for "some months." The two ovens were shut down on May 28 and June 22. Mr. Poppinga called the ramp-up of operations at the two nickel projects "very challenging." -Write to Jeff Fick at jeff.fick@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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