The information came this Monday, February 12, the KNS nickel plant in Vavouto is being mothballed. The next six months will see nothing coming out of the ovens. Time for Glencore to sell its 49% stake in the company. The reactions were quick.
The announcement came yesterday: the KNS factory will indeed be mothballed. The threat had been looming for several weeks already. An indiscretion through the distribution of an internal note signed by the president and then an official press release from the industrialist confirmed it yesterday Monday February 12: the Nord factory will no longer produce nickel for the next six months and the main shareholder withdraws. Time to find a successor to Glencore, 49% shareholder and main financier of the industrial complex.
An announcement which did not fail to provoke a reaction.
Among these first local reactions, that of Victor Tutugoro.
“This is not very good news but we had been expecting it since September when KNS indicated that they were in a situation of seeking financing and that given the nickel environment today today things were not positive” indicates 3th vice-president of the Northern province. “So yes, we expected bad news but not of this magnitude. For us who have so many jobs on Koniambo, the tool was a rebalancing tool. I have no doubt that the province and the shareholders will look for a buyer to continue, to ensure that this tool continues to work and brings the rebalancing result expected by an entire population.“.
Note that salaried employment will be maintained for the next six months.
On the side of the Rassemblement-les Républicains, we also regret “the loss of a major industrial production tool, symbol of rebalancing“. The Rally calls on all political leaders in charge of the file, primarily the Northern province, to quickly find a new shareholder to support the Northern factory.
A “hard blow for all Caledonians“deplores for its part Générations NC for whom this shutdown of the Northern factory will impact 1,800 people. Générations NC which says “determined to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to find a reliable buyer within 6 months“.
Solidarity also with the employees and subcontractors of KNS, Nicolas Metzdorf. The deputy of the 2th constituency promises that in his functions as a Caledonian elected official, he will apply “all [ses] forces, to be as useful as possible for maintaining jobs and economic activity in the North […] We will not relax our efforts until activity has fully resumed“.
Another reaction at state level this time, from the office of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire. A reaction given during a press briefing organized in Paris a few minutes after Glencore’s announcement. Bruno Le Maire’s cabinet reassures that France will “to accompany“the search for buyers for the KNS factory.”It is imperative that manufacturers take economic risks in these operations“, recalled the ministry’s office, insisting on the “exceptional support” already brought to KNS, for which “it is not possible to go beyond“. Aid of 24 billion CFP francs announced last week.