Prony Resources, the main shareholder of the South Caledonian nickel plant, announced on Wednesday 13 October a major contract with the car manufacturer Tesla. The nickel will be used in the manufacture of batteries.
The company is committed to supplying Tesla with around 42,000 tonnes of nickel over several years. Prony Resources, which succeeded the Brazilian Vale, thus becomes one of the main suppliers of metals to Elon Musk’s company. It aims to produce 44,000 tonnes by 2024. According to its managing director, Antonin Beurrier, the Usine du Sud has become profitable with a production cost of less than 14,000 dollars. Nickel is in fact marketed at more than $20,000 per tonne by the Swiss trader Trafigura.
Asia first, then Europe.
Initially, the nickel from the Southern Plant will supply Tesla’s production activities in Asia. Later, it could supply European and French battery manufacturers. Prony’s capital is 51% owned by the three provinces of New Caledonia, the group’s employees and local customary actors. The Swiss trader Trafigura holds 19%. The New Zealand investment fund Agio Global is also a shareholder.