SOLOMON ISLANDS GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING NEW LICENSE FOR NICKEL

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PROSPECTING

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (November 12, 1998 - PACNEWS)---The Solomon Islands Government has not yet to issue a new license to Bugotu Nickel, Limited for further prospecting on San Jorge Island in Isabel Province.

Minister for Mines and Energy Walton Naezon said a prospecting license is valid only for a maximum period of seven years and Bugotu Nickel's license expired two months ago, after the maximum period allowed under the Mines and Minerals Act.

Due to a strong representation from the landowning unit's trust, Naezon said, it was agreed that the Government will only consider issuing a new prospecting license to Bugotu Nickel if the company pays a US$ 200,000 bond.

The new license, if granted, will only be valid for six months, during which time the company must complete a work program approved in accordance with the Mines and Minerals Act.

If the company fails, Naezon noted, the nickel prospecting project then will be opened to international bids.

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