Australian mining company to start drilling in the Solomons

14/07/2011

In one of its early dispatches in March, <strong>Pacific Periscope</strong> 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 <!--more-->– elements whose value is tipped to rise impressively in coming years.

But just weeks after signing the deal, the Danny Philip led Solomon Islands government suspended the licence, which Axiom had then said, resulted in a third of its share value wiped out in the Australian stock market.

Apparently, things are hunky dory once again and this week, the company announced it was beginning drilling operations on Santa Isabel Island, the country’s longest landmass. Axiom has a joint venture with landowners from the Kolosori and Bungusule tribes in Isabel Province.

Japanese industrial giant Sumitomo, which is part owned by the Japanese government, won a tender process for the site but had not signed with landowners and has reportedly objected to Axiom’s operations.

But the Australian miner is undeterred saying it has a mandate from both its shareholders and the communities with which it has signed agreements, besides a prospecting licence from the Solomon Islands government.

Axiom earlier said it had found reserves of 160 million tonnes of nickel ore worth a whopping US$ 60 billion in the country.

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Photo / Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest

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