BY BEN BILUA
FIRST commercial shipment of nickel in Solomon Islands history is expected to occur in the first three months of 2019.
Axiom Mining Company has confirmed to Island Sun over the weekend that they have already drawn down their shipment target.
Axiom’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Ryan Mount confirmed that Axiom will make its first shipment between January and March next year.
He said Axiom is taking the development seriously and operation is progressing well with 95 drill holes made since October after the company commissioned its two drill rigs – an estimate progress that qualifies the shipment target.
Mount said construction at the mine site is well underway with fleet mobilisation already commenced to deliver much needed machineries at the site.
“The project is on track and work completed to date includes establishment of the first haul road and upgrading of the accommodation and office facilities.
“Number of barges has delivered heavy machinery, fuel and construction materials to the site,” Mount said.
He said a fully functional office has been established to accommodate the growing demand of workforce on site.
Mount stressed that the task at hand focuses on infrastructure design requirements such as mobile equipment workshop and maintenance facilities, offices and accommodation for staffs.
He said San Jorge nickel deposit is one of the largest undeveloped nickel-laterite deposits in the Pacific that upon full production will be the biggest component of the country’s GDP.
Mount said the nickel deposit is similar to other deposits found in New Caledonia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
He said the success of San Jorge Project is largely due to Axiom’s partnerships with the government, provincial government, churches, chiefs, landowners and other stakeholders in the Solomon Islands.
“It has been over nine years since the Company first started developing plans for this project but only in September this year we were granted the mining lease,” Mount said.
Axiom achieved its long time ambition in September 2018, when the Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Honorable Bradley Tovosia formally granted the company the mining lease for San Jorge Project.
Both Axiom and the San Jorge landowners welcomed the lease.