Madagascar shipped its first refined nickel last week, a statement from the company explorer of cobalt and nickel in the country said on Monday. The statement said the company Ambatovy shipped last week 40 metric tones of refined nickel in the international market, and the first shipment of cobalt is also expected soon. Ambatovy\'s president, Mark Plamondon, said in the statement that \"the first shipment of refined nickel is an important step for Ambatovy, as well as for Madagascar. Nickel is destined to become the main export commodity of the country, placing Madagascar one of the largest nickel-producing country like Russia, Australia and Canada.\" Contrary to the usual practice, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the ore is exported directly to be refined elsewhere, the statement said refining of nickel and cobalt in Madagascar, gives opportunity to Madagascar to have economic added value as job creation, business opportunities for private sector, markets for farmers, transfer of skills and technology and industrial development. Ambatovy is a 5.5 billion US dollar enterprise held by four companies, including Sherritt International Corporation and SNC- Lavalin Incorporated both from Canada and each respectively holding 40 percent and 5 percent of the shares, Sumitomo Corporation from Japan, which owns 27.5 percent of the shares and Korea Resources Corporation from South Korea, which has 27.5 percent of shares, Ambatovy data showe. Ambatovy has ore reserves estimated at 125 million tons. Once fully operational, it plans to have anannual capacity of producing 60,000 tonnes of refined nickel or 4 percent of global supply, and 5,600 tonnes of refined cobalt or 9 percent of the world supply, as well as 210,000 tons of fertilizer in the form of ammonium sulphate.