International investors jump onboard at the prospect of making a small fortune out of the Solomon Islands… but where does that leave the landholders and the environment?
Esmarie Swanepoe | Mining Weekly
Metals developer Axiom Mining has secured a A$15-million funding package for the initial mine development of its Isabel nickel project, in the Solomon Islands.
The funding would be made available in three tranches, with the first A$5-million to be drawn down by November 9. The second tranche of A$5-million would be drawn down after November 20, while the balance would be drawn down at the end of April.
The convertible note facility was agreed with InChoR Holdings, which along with its 70%-owned subsidiary InChor Technologies (InTech) also entered into a strategic partnership with Axiom.
The third tranche would be subject to the execution of a joint venture agreement with InChoR and InTech. Interest of 6% a year on the convertible note would be payable, with the note maturing within 24 months of drawdown. The conversion price had been set at 37c a share. A
Axiom CEO Ryan Mount said on Wednesday that both InChoR and InTech were experienced resource investors with strong technical capabilities, which would provide Axiom with access to leading nickel metallurgy and mining expertise, while providing funding for the initial development of Isabel.
“This strategic partnership is a major step forward for Axiom to develop one of the largest nickel laterite deposits in the Pacific and gives us a proprietary position to potentially extract more value from this world-class asset much earlier than we originally thought possible.”
As part of the agreement, Axiom would secure exclusive rights in the Solomon Islands to use InTech’s starved acid leach technology (Salt), as well as a ten-year first mover worldwide advantage on nickel product sales using Salt.
Axiom was taking a phased approach to develop the Isabel project, with the initial focus being on establishing a two-million-tonne-a-year direct shipping ore (DSO) operation for a relatively low capital expenditure.
Resource drilling and camp upgrade activities were under way and the start of a DSO operation was being targeted for late 2015.