Solomon Islands blocks Axion mining licence

The Solomon Islands Government has rejected Axiom Mining Ltd’s application for an export permit citing the company does not have a Provincial Business licence.

At the same time, documents obtained by Island Sun appear to show the Australian miner is fighting fires on two fronts – in Solomon Islands where its application for an export permit has been blocked along with opposition by landowners and in Australia where questions raised by the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) remain unanswered.

The company reportedly has a 40, 000-tonne stockpile of nickel, which it dug up at its San Jorge mine in Isabel Province where it is mining nickel.

The Government’s decision to reject the company’s export permit application was conveyed in a letter signed by the Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Bradley Tovosia.

Addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Mining Ltd, Ryan Mount, the letter said the Mines and Minerals Board had recommended that the application by Axiom be rejected because the company has no Provincial Business Licence to operate in Isabel Province.

Island Sun has obtained a copy of the letter dated 17 July7, 2019.

In it, Minister Tovosia said:

“The Mines and Minerals Board has deliberated on Axiom’s application for Export Permit and having heard representation from Axiom, the Board noted that:

* Axiom currently is operating in Isabel Province without a Provincial Business Licence;
*Mining is a commercial activity and Axiom is required to possess a valid licence to commence commercial activity. The Board notes that Axiom has made attempts to obtain a Provincial Business Licence, however, has not been able to obtain a licence;
*To grant an Export Permit without the existence of a Provincial Business Licence, would (be) tantamount to the Board encouraging a contravention of Isabel Provincial Business Ordinances; and
*The Board has recommended that the Export Permit (application) be rejected,” the letter said.

“In … view of the above I hereby reject your application for Export Permit. You are at liberty to re-apply for an export permit upon your receipt of a Provincial Business Licence issued pursuant to the Isabel Provincial Business Ordinances,” the letter signed by Tovosia, said.

In Australia meanwhile, Axiom Mining Ltd is facing a barrage of unanswered questions from frustrated shareholders particularly on matters relating to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

One shareholder wrote,

“Well the ASX questions and Ray Mount’s answers highlight many things that have been expressed here over the months. Operational decisions made by RM & BOD (board of directors) evidence the incredible lack of industry experience & understanding of even ASX questions show that even the basic consideration of seasonal weather patterns were not factored into production timelines by AVQ nor were knowing about having the appropriate permits & licences in place before promoting specific datelines & outcomes to shareholders and the markets,” the shareholder asked.

“ASX questions asked of RM include why in his capacity as the Managing Director did not learn from 4 years of prior work experience in SI?

“ASX questions show that AVQ’s supposed mining managers/team seemed under qualified or experienced in making accurate & calculated decisions in many areas of the material extraction & recovery processes.

“… They highlight what most shareholders have learnt and know from experience over time. That is that AVQ tells the “considered” process of action, not on industry qualified experience, analytical or technically calculated processes. Nearly every ASX question is replied to using the word “considered” as the basis for many critical decisions made – decisions and announcements which have proven to be unfounded or incorrect on hindsight. RM as MD in his answers has thrown considerable responsibility for many of these past inaccurate decisions onto previous AVQ personnel.

“If we revisit the “Axiom Media” wraps these personnel were given when first employed, we were told they were world experienced experts etc. Either Ray Mount can’t evaluate talent or experience in people, or he was misled, or those personnel were hindered while trying to carry out their duties.

“No matter which way shareholders look at it, the delays attributed to their poor mining decisions have accrued and hurt shareholders investments horrendously.

“We shareholders are left wondering where to from here.”

One industry observer told Island Sun that while it was not in the business of bad-mouthing anyone, the plethora of issues facing Axiom Mining Ltd in Solomon Islands and abroad, is an uphill battle for anyone.

“There are shareholders who said they are concerned about Axiom’s balance sheet which shows expenditures in Solomon Islands exceed bank balance.

“The only hope for the company to keep going is for a down payment by Traxys, the American buyer Axiom has signed an agreement with for the sale of nickel.

“That too is subject to the Isabel Provincial Government granting the company a Provincial Business Licence,” the mining industry observer said.

“For now the grant of a Provincial Business Licence is looking remote because of the position taken by the San Jorge Land Trustees,” the observer said.

South San Jorge Land Trustees have written an open letter to their Premier Lesley Kikolo objecting to the grant of Provincial Business Licence to Axiom. They claimed the company has failed landowners in fulfilling the terms and conditions of a Surface Access Rights Agreement (SAA) it signed with landowners.

The letter appeared as a full page advertisement in Island Sun last week. The Trustees also asked the Mines and Minerals Board to terminate the company’s mining licence, granted late last year.


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