Inco Ltd has announced that its 85%-owned subsidiary, Compagnie des Mines de Xéré (CMX) has reached an agreement in principle for a joint venture formed by Bechtel Overseas Corporation (USA)and Technip France SA to act as the prime contractor for construction of the Goro nickel-cobalt project in the French Overseas Territory of New Caledonia. The Bechtel-Technip joint venture expects to work in association with Hatch Associates Ltd (Canada), which will be a subcontractor to the joint venture. The selection is subject to finalisation of the necessary definitive agreements and approval by the CMX Board of Directors. The remaining 15% interest in CMX is held by the French government agency, Bureau de Recherches Géologiques de Minères (BRGM). The Bechtel-Technip joint venture is expected to provide engineering, procurement, construction and management services for the USD 1.4 billion project. The initial basic engineering is to be performed in Mississauga, Canada, with detailed project engineering to be subsequently carried out in Brisbane, Australia. The current project schedule anticipates that the Goro project facilities will be completed and production will begin in late 2004. The fully integrated mining and processing facilities for the project are expected to have an annual production capacity of 54,000 tonnes of nickel and 5,400 tonnes of cobalt.