An Australian stock listed company, Pacific Nickel Mines (PNM) will mine the much talked about Kolosori Nickel Mine in Isabel Province.
PNM CEO and Executive Director Geoff Hiller and PNM Country Manager Pawel Misiec are in the country to oversee the preparatory work to kick start the mining operation.
Mr Hiller was keen to impress on the importance of the support from the National Government to progress the Project from an exploration to a mining operation in only the last couple of years.
The mine is expected to be in production by the end of the year, which will provide much needed foreign currency for the Solomon Islands.
PNM has made it a practice to employ the majority of its workforce from the Solomon Islands during the exploration and development phase and this approach will be a top priority as the mine is expected to employ over 250 people once in full operation.
PNM has worked closely with the Mines Department and Ministry to ensure that the correct process has been made which included the proper technical and environmental studies – this has led to the granting of a mining lease and export permit.
Recently PNM was able to attract international mining house Glencore (based in Switzerland) to assist with the funding of the development of the Kolosori project with an up to US$22million loan supported by a nickel offtake arrangement.
Mr Hiller commented that it was a big tick of approval for both the Kolosori Project and the Solomon Islands that a major mining house was prepared to provide such foreign investment.
The Kolosori Project has also been well supported by the landowners and the Provincial Government.
The landowners, in particular, who have a direct interest in the Project, are keen to see PNM develop the project in accordance with international best mining practice.
Country Manager of Pacific Nickel Mines (PNM) Pawel Misiec also commented that he is proud as a Solomon Islander with family ties to Isabel Island that such progress has been made with the Project and is looking forward to when the mine is in operation and the benefits flow to the Solomon Islands.
Mr Hiller noted that PNM has a second nickel project called Jejevo, also on Isabel Island. The intention is for PNM to follow the same blueprint as Kolosori and have that operation going by the end of next year.
All in all, the progress made by Australian company PNM is a demonstration of what can be achieved when all stakeholders are prepared to work together to reach a common goal.