29 Apr 2011

Solomons government adamant about Axiom suspension

1:53 pm on 29 April 2011

A Solomon Islands government official, Alfred Sasako, says the suspension of a prospecting licence for Australian nickel miner, Axiom, remains in place, despite the company disputing this.

Axiom's chief executive, Ryan Mount, says the licence has been triggered and they're ready to start prospecting for nickel on Isabel.

But earlier this week the government announced the licence was invalid and Mr Sasako says that still stands.

He says the government suspended the licence because of concerns the now ousted mines minister, Mark Kemakeza, hadn't followed the correct procedure.

Mr Sasako says the licence had been granted three days after the issuance of a letter of intent, which contravenes the Mines and Minerals Act.

"The provision there says that a prospecting licence is issued only on two conditions. One that the potential investor has reached an agreement with the landowners to have access to carry out all the activities on their land and two, that is only given three months after the letter of intent."