Kolosori trustee Chief Elliot Cortez from Isabel Province has voiced his disappointment that Sumitomo applied for and was granted a temporary injunction stopping them from re-starting nickel prospecting activities on Kolosori land in Isabel Province, just days after the High Court validated their company Axiom KB’s prospecting and land rights.
In a statement yesterday Mr Cortesz said; “Indeed I and my fellow trustees are profoundly disappointed by the delaying tactic being employed by Sumitomo and we urge Sumitomo that it’s time that it respects the wishes of the rightful landowners of Isabel to develop our land and immediately stop playing its delaying tactic.”.
Its understood this was the third time that Sumitomo has stopped the Kolosori landowners’ dreams of developing the resources under their land.
In 2007/08, the Kolosori landowners were part of the Bugotu Landowners Association that Sumitomo challenged in court. In 2010, the Kolosori trustees joined with Bungusule trustees and Axiom to form Axiom KB, and were granted a prospecting licence for Kolosori land in 2011.
They had started prospecting activities when Sumitomo filed a civil claim that forced them to stop work.
On 24 September 2014, after almost three years of legal proceedings, the High Court upheld Axiom KB’s registered lease and prospecting licence. Exploration activities were re-starting last week when they received news of Sumitomo’s application for a temporary injunction.
Chief Cortez pointed out that when the High Court handed down its 375 page ruling on the civil claim brought on by Sumitomo, Commissioner John Brown declared that the legal proceedings by Sumitomo were “an abuse of court processes.”
Chief Cortez said it is clear from Sumitomo actions since Axiom KB obtained the registered lease and prospecting licence that it is merely hell-bent on delaying the landowners’ nickel prospecting operations and suppressing the rights of landowners from enjoying the benefits of allowing their land for this significant project.
He questioned the government position on the blatant injustice committed against the Kolosori landowners by Sumitomo in trying to thwart their joint venture nickel prospecting project with Axiom Mining. Especially when the High Court said that Sumitomo has “misled the government” as well as treating the government with “distain”.
“Where is our Government’s voice in this? We hope they can stand up with us. This is total injustice not only to us the landowners but the entire nation. The operation of Axiom KB on Isabel which holds big nickel deposits means an economic boost for us all.
“The longer Sumitomo continues its delaying tactic, the longer we landowners of Isabel will be left in suspense from gaining the benefits of opening up our land for our nickel project. We’ve chosen Axiom for adopting a profit sharing policy whereby landowners are given 20 percent shares of Axiom KB’s profits.
“The longer Sumitomo is allowed to continue with its delaying tactic, the longer our national economy will remain stagnant,” Chief Cortez said.
Chief Cortez said seeing that Sumitomo’s claims for the prospecting licence on Isabel were dismissed, “it should humbly pack up and go home.”