Axiom Mining can resume exploration of the large Isabel Nickel Project after last week winning a Solomon Islands High Court case over Japan’s Sumitomo. The court dismissed Sumitomo’s claims, finding ‘the proceedings have been shown to be an abuse of the court’s process’.

It therefore discharged Sumitomo’s injunction preventing Axiom’s exploration or mining activities. It also placed a continuing permanent injunction restraining Sumitomo from interfering with Axiom’s business activities in Solomon Islands. Axiom’s claim for costs and damages will now be pursued.

Axiom’s CEO Ryan Mount said last week, “This judgment vindicates Axiom’s assertions that we have always acted correctly and with integrity. With our prospecting licence and registered lease recognized, we can now re-commence our exploration of the tenement with our partners, the Kolosori and Bungusule landowners.

“Work on this tenement, one of the largest nickel laterite deposits in the Pacific, will start on Monday. We are targeting the start of a Direct Shipping Ore operation within 12 to 18 months.”  

Axiom had commenced exploration activities on Santa Isabel Island in 2011 when the prospecting licence was awarded, however activities were halted by an injunction brought on by a civil claim by Sumitomo.

Kolosori Trustees’ chair Elliot Cortez said, “We are very pleased that we have been able to successfully defend our land rights. We look forward to working closely with Axiom to develop the nickel deposit as well as hopefully constructing a mine.”

Solomon Islands Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Moses Garu said, “We are glad to have Axiom back on the land and look forward to the results of their exploration in developing the world-class Isabel nickel deposit. We hope to receive a mining lease application for this project from Axiom in the not too distant future.”