Thursday, 14 July 2011 9:18 AM

Axiom Mining to Begin

The Australian mining company, Axiom Mining, will begin drilling for nickel in Solomon Islands this week amid continued ill-feeling from rival companies and landowners.

Axiom Mining has told the Australian Stock Exchange that it will begin drilling on a three-rig program that will run until December.

The company expects to begin a study to test the economic viablility of the mining operation on Isabel Island by January 2012.

Axiom has a joint venture with landowners from the Kolosori and Bungusule tribes in Isabel Province.

The company's managing director, Ryan Mount, told Radio Australia that despite threats, there is no legal action outstanding against Axiom.

Mr Mount says the land the project site is using has been registered by landowners through the High Court and cannot be deregistered.

He says he is unconcered about threats from the Japanese company Sumitomo, which won a tender process for the site but had not signed with landowners. Sumitomo is part-owned by the Japanese Government, which has raised the matter with the Solomons Government.

"We have a mandate (to be) here from our shareholders, from the indigenous landowners and we've received a prospecting licence," he said.

"We are according to that and we are abiding by the law so we don't feel threated by that at all."

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province