Axiom Mining halted again in Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands Court of Appeal grants interim injunction agains Axiom.
The Solomon Islands Court of Appeal has granted an interim restraint order against an Australian company, Axiom Mining, to stop it from restarting its activities to begin prospecting for nickel in Isabel province.
The order comes just days after the High Court gave the company the all clear after a lengthy battle over prospecting and land rights against the Japanese mining giant Sumitomo.
Koroi Hawkins has been following the story and he spoke with Jamie Tahana about the events leading up to today.
KOROI HAWKINS: So the fight is between Axiom, a small Australian mining company and a very large Japanese mining company, Sumitomo, over nickel prospecting rights for Isabel province and it's been going on for quite a long time. It's been very expensive, but basically Sumitomo got the rights first in 2010 and then the landowners changed allegiances to Axiom because I believe Axiom's given them 20% equity in the company which is much better conditions than any mining company has given landowners in Solomon Islands.
JAMIE TAHANA: And so because of that Sumitomo took the case to the High Court in Solomon Islands?
KH: That's right, so they've been in the High Court. On Wednesday the 24th (September) the High Court decided in favour of Axiom Mining and they were given the full rights and all injunctions removed. Over the weekend they had started operations again in terms of going back into prospecting and getting ready to send machines to the Solomon Islands and start their work on Isabel and then this happened.
JT: So the Court of Appeal disagreed with that judgement and has now issued an interim restraining order?
KH: It's not actually disagreeing but they have put in an interim restraining order while they're waiting for Sumitomo's appeal to come through so it's basically leave it alone while we sort out the appeal, that's what's happening. Apparently Axiom were even taken by surprise. They were given a listing for that application just on the day that it happened so it's taken everybody by surprise. They were about to go into full operation in terms of prospecting and now that's all on hold again so it's just a couple of days after the green signal they've got a red light again. It's quite fast-moving.
JT: How long is the appeal process meant to take?
KH: That is an issue that even Axiom cannot answer. I spoke with the CEO Ryan Mount earlier in the week and he had no idea this was going to happen and I spoke with the office in Solomon Islands just before coming on air and they say they have to wait for the Court of Appeal but I'm just looking at what the Axiom Mining has put out in their press release and they're saying that they are currently considering an urgent appeal of this decision by the Chief Justice in the Court of Appeal to grant this interim injunction so it could change again in the next couple of days.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: