Axiom sees light at the end of the tunnel for the Isabel Nickel Project

It’s been a tough few years for Axiom Mining (ASX: AVQ) but lady luck may finally be on their side at the Isabel Nickel Project in the Solomon Islands.

After seeing the company have to go toe-to-toe with Japanese giant Sumitomo in court over the highly prized Isabel Nickel Project in the Solomon Islands many shareholders are feeling the strain, especially after the verdict handed down saw both parties miss out for now.

However with the recent withdrawal of Sumitomo from the region leaving only Axiom to vie for the tenement, a change in government in the Solomon Islands, support from the local community and funds secured, we could see a change in fortune for the company as it aims to become a major nickel miner in the region.

Listed below are the recent changes that have sparked life back in to Axiom Mining shareholders that have had to endure the past few years.

Axiom Mining AVQ San Jorge deposit Isabel Nickel Project operations
Operations – San Jorge deposit, part of the Isabel Nickel Project.

Government ministerial changes in Solomon Islands welcomed

Solomon Islands Prime Minister has appointed a new Minister of Mines.

Initial indications from the Ministry of Mines is that licensing for the Isabel Nickel Project is a major and immediate priority.

Axiom retains its legal incumbency and first-in-line status for San Jorge and Kolosori respectively.

Axiom commences next phase of mineral development

Exploration and pre-development activities in full swing again on the San Jorge nickel deposit.

Development and environment team deployed back to Solomon Islands and Isabel province.

Major competitor Sumitomo withdraws from the Solomon Islands

After over a decade of nickel exploration and five years in litigation against Axiom and the Solomon Islands Government, Sumitomo has announced a full departure from Solomon Islands by year’s end.

Axiom receives strong support in bi-lateral forums

Axiom presented at the Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum and received notable support from attendees, including government officials and keynote speakers.

The Company is now at the forefront of leading the mining industry out of dormancy and into ethical and sustainable development.

Axiom Mining CEO Ryan Mount Solomon Islands business forum speech
Key Speaker Axiom’s CEO Ryan Mount at Solomon Islands Business Forum.

Funding accelerated for the next phase of work on the Isabel Nickel Project

A $2m of Convertible Note (Tranche II) brought forward and made immediately available (refer to announcement dated 16 June 2017).

The Convertible Note financier has conducted in-country and project site due diligence and has agreed to fund a further $3m-$5m this quarter, if required and at the company’s discretion.

Axiom Mining Limited CEO Mr Ryan Mount said:

“We believe success and the ultimate reward for shareholders is close to hand. The respect we have generated in fending off major obstacles in a number of areas and at the same time maintaining integrity through adversity has now placed us as the forerunner in the development of a mining industry for Solomon Islands.

This is not a position we take lightly and at the same time we congratulate the Solomon Islands Government in making the decisions necessary for laying a platform for sustainable mineral development…

…whilst proceeding through at times a complex process to obtain our licences we continue to respect the rights of landowners and are proud to have them as our partners in development.

With our renewed optimism we have recommenced exploration and pre-development activities on the San Jorge deposit, part of the world class Isabel Nickel project. Our first class team of geologists, miners, environmentalists and social experts are in Solomon Islands now making all the preparations necessary to make this project a banner for sustainable development in the Pacific.

Nickel ore continues to be in short supply aided by the situation in the Philippines where the president, Mr Rodrigo Duterte, last week announced he agreed with the banning of open pit mining for nickel ore. This will positively impact upon our market as they are the largest nickel laterite ore exporter.”

Time will tell if the tide is going to turn for Axiom, at least for now there is a renewed sense of confidence in the company, trading at a high of 29c yesterday.

Filip is the founder of Small Caps. He has written in both Australia and abroad covering everything from the global economy, politics and geopolitical issues to commodities and small cap stocks on the ASX.