Mined locally since 1888, nickel is intrinsically linked to the Kouaoua mountains. Although an initial air transporter was set up in 1902 covering a 6 km stretch, it is the 12 km serpentine conveyor belt that lends the mining site of Kouaoua its global fame today.
In the 1970s, when the company SLN (Société Le Nickel) decided to build a huge conveyor belt almost 12 km long, the idea was not to appear in the Guinness Book of Records. It was simply to facilitate the mineral’s transportation from the excavation site to the mineral port, avoiding the laborious use of carts on tracks which were usually maintained at the time.
Nonetheless, the Serpentine is indeed the world’s longest curved conveyor belt. This enormous iron “snake” extends for over 11 km covering an overall height difference of more than 500 meters. Over 500 tons of mineral travel on this remarkable belt every hour!