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The Solomon Islands Government has demanded Australian miner Axiom Ltd to pay SBD$7 million (US$861,330) over its alleged failure to obtain provincial business licenses from Isabel Province and for not providing annual survey reports for seven years.
The company said the demand was made in a letter it received from the Ministry of Commerce, Labour and Immigration dated 29 November 2019.
The $7 million is to cover costs for Axiom’s two subsidiaries – Axiom Nickel (SI) Ltd and Axiom KB Ltd.
Axiom also stated the Government has demanded its directors, including CEO Ryan Mount, to surrender their passports.
These directors, according to Axiom, include Australian and New Zealand passport holders.
However, Axiom said legal advice it received stated the demands are not valid in law and has responded accordingly.
“Axiom’s subsidiaries have faithfully met and completed all surveys that have been sent to them for completion by the government.
“Axiom also disputes the alleged requirement to hold a business license for Isabel Province.
“The Solomon Islands Government has purported to cancel Axiom’s foreign investor certificates for alleged failure to complete surveys and hold a provincial business license, this is subject to an application for review to the Foreign Investment Committee of Solomon Islands,” Axiom said in a statement.
It added the Australian and New Zealand high commissions in Honiara have been notified of the Government’s demands for passports of its respective citizens.
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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