Nautilus tests new diamond drill rig

Nautilus Minerals has announced that it has commenced wet testing of its new seafloor diamond drill rig.

The diamond drill rig has been developed to relieve the drilling requirements of its future exploration programs.

Nicknamed the “Hobbit” scout rig, it has so far successfully met design targets in a series of land-based trials.

This wet test program will occur over a two week period and will expand the testing parameters to include submerged operations and mechanical endurance.

The testing will check the operational functionality and the system’s ability to sustain simulated offshore operations at optimal productivity.

Nautilus says it will then look to deploy the rig on its South Pacific tenements on successful completion of the trials, subject to raising further funding.

In a statement Nautilus CEO, Mike Johnston, said: “According to our recently released Preliminary Economic Assessment for Solwara 1, a single quarter's production at steady state mining rates (~3,200t/d) and at average Solwara deposit grades, adds around US$110 million in Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Hence forward exploration is a pivotal part of our business.

“Our pioneering teams are overcoming traditional functional limitations and high fees in seafloor drilling, with our new ‘Hobbit’ scout rig.”

He said the company looks forward to reporting the results of this system.

Cedric Patjole