According to Nautilus Minerals, although it has successfully tested its mining machines in a giant puddle, there is an awful lot it does NOT know about its proposed Solwara 1, experimental seabed mine in Papua New Guinea.
Indeed, it is hard to find anything the company does know with any certainty.
Nautilus Minerals admits it does not know:
1. If its mining machines will work on the seafloor
Nautilus says there are “risks relating to the performance of the Seafloor Production Tools include the risk of equipment failing to perform to design specifications when operated at the Solwara 1 Project, as the machines have not yet been tested at depths similar to depths present at the Solwara 1 Project”.
2. If it can raise the money it needs to even start mining
The risks related to continuing the Company’s operations and advancing the development of the Solwara 1 Project include “the risk that the Company will be unable to obtain at all or on acceptable terms, and within the timeframes required, the remaining financings necessary [$300 million] to fund completion of the build, testing and deployment of the Company’s seafloor production system”
3. If it can fix the failed funding for its mining support ship
The Company may “be unable to rectify or arrange for the rectification of the default under the shipbuilding contract for the construction of the Production Support Vehicle (as announced on 11 December 2017)”
4. Whether its other contractors can do their part on time
Nautilus says that “agreements with third party contractors for building slots within certain timeframes are not secured as required”.
5. Whether the mine is economically viable
Nautilus does not even know if the mine is economically viable:
“As the Company has not completed an economic study in respect of the Solwara 1 Project, there can be no assurance that the Company’s production plans will, if fully funded and implemented, successfully demonstrate that seafloor resource production is commercially viable”
6. What the environmental impacts will be
Nautilus Minerals doesn’t even know what the environmental impacts of any mining will be: “the actual impact of any SMS mining operations on the environment has yet to be determined” says the company.
On top of all this, yesterday we revealed that Nautilus apparently doesn’t know that the company it thought was its partner in the Solwara 1 mine, holding a 15% stake, actually doesn’t exist any more… oops!
Maybe all these unknowns explain why Nautilus Minerals can’t find anyone dumb enough to finance its plans – except, of course, the PNG government!