The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The High Court of Solomon Islands. Photo credit: SIBC.

The Court of Appeal has quashed the decision of the Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification in April 2011, to issue a letter of intent to Axiom KB Limited for a prospecting licence.

This was part of the Court’s 80-page judgement Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer delivered at the High Court this morning.

The Court quashed the decision by the then Minister of Mines and Energy in 2011 and declared the Letter of intent to Axiom KB as invalid.

Among the orders, the Court also declared the land of the nickel deposit to be de-registered and to remain as customary land.

The Court of Appeal also declined to allow the tender be awarded to SMMS, saying a letter of intent to issue a prospecting licence ought not to have been granted to SMMS it already held three or more prospecting licences over other areas without having applied for a mining lease or commenced mining in at least one of them.

The Court of Appeal made its judgement after Sumitomo appealed the High Court’s decision in September 2014 for Axiom KB to explore mining activities in Isabel province.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal’s decision today could finally terminate the whole mining saga between the two mining companies.

Sumitomo, Axiom and the Isabel landowners will have to start the whole process over again if they want to continue with the mining project.

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