The Premier of Isabel province in Solomon Islands, James Habu, says a Japanese mining company is now eyeing four sites in the province.
A draft agreement is being circulated between the Trustees for the Customary Landowners of Isabel Province Land and SMMS which is a subsidiary of the Sumitomo Metal Mining Company.
Local landowners are now being consulted as to whether they'll allow Sumitomo to explore for nickel and cobalt on their land.
James Habu says at first SMMS was only looking at two sites, but now they want rights to two more areas.
"They are having difficulties getting that right from the national government. But the sites cover lots of different landholding groups and so that's the difficulty, and we have advised them in the past to proceed carefully and not rush things."
The Premier of Isabel province in Solomon Islands James Habu