5 Dec 2007

Nickel mining set to go ahead in Solomons' Isabel Province

2:28 pm on 5 December 2007

Landowners in Solomon Islands' Isabel province have agreed on a nickel joint venture with an Australian mining company, Axiom Mining.

Nickel was discovered in the region more than 40 years ago, but failure to reach agreement with landowners stopped any development.

Now landowners have formed the Bugotu Landowners Association, which sought a major development partner in Axiom Mining.

The chair of Axiom, John Cook, says he's looking forward to the new partnership.

"There is a association between BLA and Axiom Mining through a joint company called Bugoto Nickel Limited. We are expecting a decision by the mineral department on the issuance of a exploration licence. We are very happy with the way it's progressing."

John Cook says the Bugotu Landowners Association has the backing of the local people, and he's confident there won't be any problems despite the historical landownership issues.