2 Mar 2011

Plans for Solomons nickel plant to ship ore overseas for processing

9:15 pm on 2 March 2011

The Australian company planning to exploit a huge nickel resource in Santa Isabel in Solomon Islands intends shipping the ore overseas for smelting.

Axiom mining has signed a joint venture arrangement with two landowner groups and will now apply for the licences to mine the deposits, which are estimated to be worth nearly 60 billion US dollars.

Axiom chief executive, Ryan Mount, says they want to involve Solomon Islanders as much as possible in the operation and foresee it eventually being run by locals.

He says the shipping of nickel overseas for smelting is not an expensive option.

"To establish a big nickel laterite processing plant it actually costs several billions of dollars. So it's actually cheaper for us to ship it, and it actually creates for our locally incorporated Solomon Islands company, it creates a quick way to generate cash flow."