Aussie mining company runs foul in the Solomons
The events in the Pacific Islands have begun affecting stock markets in Australia is probably a measure of the growing economic and commercial influence the islands are beginning to wield in the global marketplace.<!--more-->
In one of the early dispatches of <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong> in March, we had reported that following many months of negotiations, Australian mining company Axiom had pipped several global companies to the post to ink a 50-year agreement with the Solomon Islands for mining nickel and cobalt – elements whose value is tipped to rise impressively in coming years.
Just weeks after signing the deal, the Danny Philip led Solomon Islands government has suspended the licence, which Axiom says, has resulted in a third of its share value wiped out in the Australian stock market.
Government spokesman and veteran journalist Alfred Sasako told media that the suspension was because of concerns that the former mines minister, Mark Kemakeza “did not follow the correct process.” Mr Kemakeza was sacked just days after the deal was signed.
While Axiom Mining denies any wrongdoing, the government wants to investigate details of the deal. Axiom earlier said it had found reserves of 160 million tonnes of Nickel ore worth a whopping US$ 60 billion in the country. Its 45 sq. km site is on Santa Isabel Island, the country’s longest landmass.