Sherritt International chief executive Ian Delaney says the Toronto-based mining company and its partners in the Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar are within a month of finalizing all financing needed for the $4.5-billion project.

Construction on Ambatovy, among the biggest nickel developments in the world, is on track to begin commercial production in the fourth quarter of 2010, he said after the company’s annual meeting.

The estimated cost of the project has ballooned to $4.5 billion, from the previous estimate of $3.2 billion, raising a question about how the cost overrun will be financed.

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