Nautilus aborts trials in Oman and opts for testing in PNG

Twelve months ago Nautilus sent its machines to Oman for wet testing – so why are the machines now in Port Moresby for exactly the same set of tests with no mention of what happened in Oman?

Nautilus submersible trials will start soon

Rosalyn Albaniel | Post Courier | April 04, 2017

THE Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) developed by Canadian Miner Nautilus Minerals for the World’s first ever deep sea mining have arrived in the country and will shortly commence submerged trials.

Nautilus vice president Adam Wright, who flew in from Brisbane where he is based said the equipment was shipped mid-March from a ship yard where they had been stored, arriving in Port Moresby on Monday.

Mr Wright told the Post-Courier the equipment would undergo a series of trials over a four to five month period at Motukea island.

He said the four things that the Canadian miner will be testing are the stability of the machine, how efficiently they can cut rock, how efficiently they can collect rock and how well the operator can control and monitor submergible using visualization technology.

“This really puts the spot light on PNG in taking the lead role in developing deep sea mining and this is a joint initiative between Nautilus and PNG through Kumul Mineral Holdings Limited.

Nautilus chief executive officer Mike Johnston in commenting on the arrival of the machine said

“We are delighted to be given the opportunity to complete these trials in PNG rather than overseas.

Not only will it result in the addition of over K6million into the PNG economy and employing of thousands of Papua New Guineans. [THOUSANDS OF JOBS – REALLY!]

“It will also ensure that our partner Kumul Mineral Holdings, government officials from the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) as well as from New Ireland and East New Britain provincial governments can fully participate in the trials.

“The machines will not be deployed into the ocean so there will be no impact on the seafloor around Motukea Island Instead the machines will operate in an existing fully enclosed excavation on the island,” the CEO said.

Meanwhile, Mr Wright said after the trials have been concluded the equipment will be shipped back to China to be integrated onto Nautilus’ production support vessel which he added is currently being built in a shipyard in there.

“Once the ship completed and completed its sea trials then that vessel will come back to PNG,” Mr Wright said.

He said the firm remains confident that the commissioning of the mining operation will fall in the early part of 2019.


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Filed under Mine construction, Papua New Guinea

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