Nautilus SPV launched

Nautilus Minerals has launched the world’s first Seafloor Production Vessel (SPV) which will be used at the Solwara 1 project site.

The company announced on Thursday that the SPV was launched at the Mawei Shipyard in China where it had been under construction.

Nautilus CEO, Mike Johnston, called the launch a significant milestone for the company and the deep water sea floor mining industry.

“Mawei Yard has designed and built the world’s first deep sea mining production support vessel in cooperation with Nautilus and Marine Assets Corporation. This has involved much discussion, thought and innovation, to produce this magnificent vessel,” said Johnston.

“The Yard’s efforts have been truly amazing, and I would like to thank the management and team at Mawei Shipbuilding for the terrific work that has been done to get the vessel to this stage of completion."

The PSV provides a stable platform for operations using world-class dynamic positioning technologies to ensure it stays on location at Solwara 1 irrespective of wind and wave conditions. The PSV has been designed for use in offshore construction and seafloor mining industries.

“We believe that mining the seafloor for much-needed minerals will be a more cost effective and environmentally friendly source of obtaining high grade copper, gold and silver*.

“Nautilus further differentiates itself from others by having a ‘first-mover advantage’ which is protected by intellectual property and 20 patents.

“Once our new vessel is delivered, and subject to final funding, mining operations at 1,600m water depth is anticipated to commence in late 2019,” said Johnston.

The PSV is approximately 75 percent complete with the final vessel delivery currently scheduled for March 31, 2019. 

In February, Nautilus successfully completed submerged trials of its seafloor production tools (SPTs) outside of Port Moresby.

The PNG Government also granted a two-year exploration licence to Nautilus, with the company stating they have identified numerous exploration targets with similar geology to the deposits found at Solwara 1.

Nautilus says the oceans have significant potential to provide the key minerals such as copper, gold, silver, zinc, nickel, cobalt and manganese needed by the world as it transitions to a low carbon future based on electric vehicles and batteries.

Cedric Patjole