AXIOM Mining is accelerating exploration at the Isabel Nickel Project in the Solomon Islands with six drill rigs arrive in June to commence a resource drilling program. This program will determine an initial measured and indicated resource that can support the first three to four years of a direct shipping ore (DSO) operation.

Axiom has contracted a nickel laterite specialist to deliver this stage of exploration. The program was due to commence in late June and involves two phases. Phase 1 includes 5000 metres at 50x50 metre and 50x25 metre hole spacings. Phase two involves 5000 metres at 100x100 metre and 50 x 50 metre hole spacings.

Other development activities are progressing at an accelerated pace, including camp refurbishment, recruiting and training of a local workforce, and preparations to commence initial exploration on the San Jorge tenement.

Axiom’s CEO Ryan Mount says, “Our current orientation drilling program has achieved a total of 129 holes with an aggregate of 2236 metres using one drill rig and has consistently intersected high grade nickel mineralization at the prospect areas of Havihua and Kolosori ridges.

“The Court of Appeal hearing has ended with judgement pending which means a dramatic reduction in legal expenses. We can now fully channel our resources to developing the world-class Isabel nickel deposit, ensuring we meet our target of being in production by the end of this year.”

Axiom recently raised Aus$4 million through the combination of a private placement and the issue of convertible notes to fund the continued development of Isabel. The placement raised $4 million at a price of $0.30 per share from a number of institutional and high net worth investors. In addition, $1 million in notes have been issued.

The company also has potential funding of $5 million from court cost claims, which Axiom will be entitled to receive upon obtaining a favourable ruling in the Court of Appeal hearing. Further funding can also be achieved on the conversion of $7.5 million of options that may be exercised over the next four months.

The Isabel project is considered to be one of the largest nickel laterite deposits in the Pacific. The project has been extensively explored by mining and engineering industry leaders, International Nickel Company Ltd (INCO) and Kaiser Engineers International.

Axiom holds a 50-year registered lease and prospecting licence over the Kolosori tenement, and a prospecting licence for the San Jorge tenement.