Prospective seabed mining company Nautilus Minerals does not have the US$200 to US$225 million it needs to complete the construction of its giant floating production support vessel. This makes the future of its proposed experimental Solwara 1 mine in Papua New Guinea look increasingly uncertain.
According to the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Shontel Norgate, quoted in an article in the Northern Miner, Solwara 1 requires a total capital expenditure of $383 million but Nautilus is short by US$200 – $225 million. This means it does not have the funds it needs to complete the construction of its support ship.
Despite its lack of capital and the failed rights issue, the company bullishly says it still hopes to begin production in PNG in the first quarter of 2018. The proposed open cast mining operation will strip away the seabed to a depth of 10 metres using three giant remotely operated machines.
But CEO Mike Johnston admits that timetable depends on completing the support vessel by the middle of 2017
“The critical item that determines our schedule is building the vessel, which is our mining platform.”
He remains very vague though about where the money is going to come from
“We’re in discussions with groups about getting additional capital”.