28 Apr 2011

Australian miner maintains Solomons mining licence valid, despite government claim

7:52 pm on 28 April 2011

The chief executive of Australian mining company, Axiom, is adamant that their licence remains valid and that they're about to start prospecting for nickel in Solomon Islands Isabel province.

Earlier this week the Solomons government issued a media statement saying Axiom's licence was invalid.

It accused the recently dumped mining minister, Mark Kemakeza, of rushing approval through.

But CEO of Axiom, Ryan Mount, who's in Honiara, says that's not the case.

He says its licence is valid and the company is about to begin prospecting.

"I can't speak for the prime minister's office but if someone has issued a press release from his office, well that is something for him to deal with. He's obviously the leader of the country and I make myself available to him and his office at any time. But as we stand we have a licence and we have triggered the licence. It is issued by the ministry of mines and we are beginning prospecting. So I understand there is confusion over this but all I can say is we are full steam ahead at the moment."