Resolution on Solomon Islands nickel rights sought

20/10/2013

<p style="text-align: justify;">Australian and Japanese companies are seeking to resolve a long-running dispute over nickel rights on the Solomon Islands’ Santa Isabel Island.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Australian Broadcasting Corporation Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney writes, Japanese company Sumitomo and Australian miner Axiom are appearing at Honiara court house to argue they each have the right approval to start mining rich veins of nickel bearing ore.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Sumitomo began prospecting first, but a deal between landowner groups and Axiom has landed the rights in dispute and in court. Sumitomo and Axio both claim support of different landowner groups, while another landowning company has also sent its own representation, the report says.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Australian judge, John Brown, who has extensive experience in Melanesia, has been brought in to hear the case. Lawyers say it is exceptionally important to determine issue of land-ownership and processes around starting future mining operations.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The demand for nickel has been soaring on the back of growing construction activity in China and India. The Solomon Islands Government believes that once this case is resolved the country has a bright mining future.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The complicated case is expected to continue into next year, the report says.</p>
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