One of Japan’s largest integrated trading and investment companies, Sumitomo has joined Dynatec and Implats by acquiring a 25% interest in the Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar. Sumitomo has a market capitalisation of US$10.4 billion and this deal puts into place all the partners required to move the project forward.

The Ambatovy feasibility study released by Dynatec in February 2005 indicated the potential for 60,000 tonnes a year of nickel metal and 5,600 tonnes a year of cobalt metal, with cash operating costs expected to be near the bottom of the global cost curve.

The feasibility study estimated that the capital costs for the project would total US$2.25 billion. These costs are being reviewed in light of the potential savings as a result of the decision to locate the refinery portion of the Ambatovy project in Springs, South Africa.

Based on this timing, and the current construction schedule, initial production could be recorded by the end of 2008.