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Solomon Island Nickel Exploration Project Withdrawn

Published by
Global Mining Review,

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (“SMM”) has opted to withdraw from the nickel exploration project (“Solomon Exploration Project”) it has been implementing in the Solomon Islands through its subsidiary, SMM Solomon Limited (“SMMS”).

SMMS started its acquisition of prospecting licenses and exploration activities in 2005 and completed the activities focusing on the prospecting areas of Choiseul province and Isabel province in 2014, before proceeding to apply for mining leases in three areas (“SMMS Own Areas”). This was before a period of legal proceedings against other mining firms over the defined international tender areas in Isabel province, since SMMS had their rights to the area cancelled. This period in ended in March 2017, resulting in the decision to reward rights to neither parties. During this time, the nickel price dropped significantly and currently there is no sign of circumstances changing.

The result of the comprehensive review of such business circumstances concluded that it is difficult for SMMS to implement the project that SMMS had sought to realize by integrating SMMS’ Own Areas with the International Tender Areas. Presently SMMS has decided to withdraw from Solomon Exploration Project, withdrawing from all of its pending applications for mining leases regarding SMMS’ Own Areas. SMMS will cease operation of the company except for those remaining matters arising from the withdrawal. The impact of this withdrawal on SMM’s results will be minor. Going forward, SMM shall continue to work towards securing new nickel resources through projects in the Philippines and Indonesia and other such activities.

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