Tag Archives: experimental seabed mining

K1bn needed for Solwara 1

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | October 14, 2017

More than K1 billion in remaining project financing is needed to fund the Solwara 1 Project in New Ireland Province.

Nautilus Minerals Inc. revealed this when announcing the appointment of its exclusive financial advisor – Deep Sea Mining Finance Ltd (DSMF).

In a statement, the Canadian company indicated that a remaining project financing of US$350 million was needed, which DSMF will be leveraging, to complete the build and deployment of the sea oor production system to be utilised at the Solwara 1 Project.

Nautilus said DSMF will seek to leverage the international expertise and financial relationships of Nautilus’ two major shareholders to assist in advancing the development of the project.

Nautilus has stated that there are no assurances that it will secure the necessary additional funding and a failure to do so may result in it undergoing various transactions, which include asset sales, joint ventures and capital restructurings.

DSMF is a newly-incorporated private company in the British Virgin Islands.

Nautilus has also announced that it has terminated a ‘Bridge Financing Agreement’ signed in 2016 with Metalloinvest Holding (Cyprus) Limited and Mawarid Offshore Mining Ltd.


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Nautilus: We still need to raise K1 billion to fund Solwara 1 preparations

Nautilus says it needs to raise approximately US$41 million before the end of 2017, and an additional US$270 million in order to complete the build and deployment of the seafloor production system for Solwara 1

Resignation of Mark P. M. Horn as a Director

Nautilus Minerals Inc | October 5, 2017

Nautilus Minerals Inc. announces that Mark P. M. Horn has resigned as a director of Nautilus. 

Mark P. M. Horn has advised the Company that he will lead Deep Sea Mining Finance Ltd. (“DSMF”), a recently formed joint-venture between the two major shareholders of Nautilus, Metalloinvest Holding (Cyprus) Limited (“Metalloinvest”) and MB Holding Company LLC (“MB Holding”).

DSMF and Nautilus are in discussions concerning the potential engagement of DSMF as Nautilus’ financial advisor to implement a financing strategy for Nautilus, by leveraging the international expertise and financial relationships of Nautilus’ two major shareholders. Russell Debney, a director of Nautilus who is independent of each of DSMF, Metalloinvest and MB Holding, is negotiating or directing the negotiation of any such transaction on behalf of Nautilus.

Nautilus needs to raise approximately US$41 million before the end of 2017, and an additional approximately US$270 million is required in order to complete the build and deployment of the seafloor production system to be utilized at the Solwara 1 Project by the Company and its joint venture partner (as to 15%), the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s nominee, in early 2019.

Mark P. M. Horn stated on behalf of DSMF: “Nautilus is a world leader in seafloor mining technology. This is a very exciting time in the mining industry, as deep-sea mining is on the verge of becoming a reality. Nautilus’ two largest shareholders are very pleased to be playing an important part in the development of this new industry.”

The Company is currently seeking the appointment of a new independent director and is in active discussions with various candidates.

About Mark Horn, MB Holding and Metalloinvest

Mark P. M. Horn has represented Metalloinvest on the Board of Nautilus since September 2013. Since 1987, he has worked as an international Fund Manager, Financial Analyst and Corporate Financier. Mark started his career at the Co-operative Insurance Society, then moved to Globe Investment Trust, before joining Rockefeller and Co. He subsequently worked for Kleinwort Benson Investment Management, before becoming Head of Research at Canaccord Capital (Europe). He holds an ALM, (Harvard University, USA); BA, BA (Hons) (First Class), MA, (Rhodes University, South Africa); BSc, BSc (Hons) (Geosciences), B.Eng (Hons), (Open University, UK); LLB (Hons), LLM, MBA (Banking) (London University, UK); Dip.B.Admin (Manchester Business School, UK). He has been called to the Bar of England and Wales as a Barrister of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.

Mawarid Mining LLC of Oman (“MML”) holds 29.3% of the current outstanding shares of Nautilus through MML’s wholly owned subsidiary Mawarid Offshore Mining Limited (“MOML”). MML is a wholly owned mining and mineral business vertical of MB Holding and is actively engaged in exploration and development of concessions in the Sultanate of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Tanzania and Rwanda. MB Holding is a multinational corporation with operations spread across the globe in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Asia-Pacific. The dynamic group which started operations in 1982 has diversified businesses including integrated drilling & oilfield services, exploration & production of oil & gas, marine, manufacturing & engineering services, mineral & mining and investments. MB Holding employs more than 4,000 employees from over 54 nationalities who are committed to achieving its vision and mission.

Metalloinvest currently has a 18.5% interest in Nautilus. Metalloinvest is wholly owned by USM Holdings (“USM”), a diversified international holding company with significant interests across the metals and mining, telecoms and internet sectors. The main shareholders of USM are Alisher Usmanov, Vladimir Skoch and Farhad Moshiri. USM’s assets include Metalloinvest, the largest mining company in Russia and the CIS and the leading global manufacturer of hot briquetted iron, Baikal Mining Company, which owns the largest copper reserves in Russia, MegaFon, a major telecommunications operator in Russia, and Mail.Ru Group, the Russian internet leader and owner of the country’s most popular social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki. The group is also a prominent global investor in the digital space and is a major investor in one of the key players in the global esports market. Furthermore, it manages a number of other industry-leading businesses including UTH Russia, one of the country’s largest media and entertainment groups with a unique portfolio of popular national TV channels in Russia and Kazakhstan and one of the leading Russian property development company.

All information in this news release concerning Mark P. M. Horn, MB Holding and Metalloinvest has been provided by each of those respective parties.

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Cook Islands receives just $71,000 for seabed exploration rights

Cook Islands’ waters include environmentally valuable coral reefs, seagrass beds and fisheries.

Cooks govt enters into ocean mining agreement

Radio New Zealand | 4 October 2017

The Cook Islands government has entered into an agreement with a company called Ocean Minerals to reserve 23,000 square kilometres of the country’s exclusive economic zone for up to 18 months.

The agreement which earned the government $US71,000 gives the company the exclusive right to apply for licensing to undertake prospecting and exploration activities for manganese nodules.

If Ocean Minerals does apply for an exploratory license within the agreed timeframe, the company will be expected to go through the necessary processes required by the Cook’s Seabed Minerals Act, the recently passed Marae Moana Act, and the Environment Act.

This is the second agreement negotiated with the company.


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New Britain to be excluded from Solwara 1 benefit sharing

Coastal communities in East New Britain will be just as heavily impacted as any in New Ireland by the proposed Solwara 1 Experimental Seabed Mine, but the government is excluding the Province from any benefits sharing…

Coastal Area Benefit for offshore mining projects
Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | October 3, 2017

The Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management has created the concept of Coastal Area Benefit as the benefit sharing agreement instrument for offshore mining projects.

Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management Secretary, Harry Kore, says the concept was developed out of sentimental attachment locals have with the sea as a resource for their livelihood.

The CAB concept will be first implemented across several wards adjacent to the Solwara 1 Deep Sea Mine Project in New Ireland Province.

Secretary Kore said the CAB, as per its structure, is implemented with a ward that is directly opposite the offshore project.

However, the CAB can be extended to three more wards on both sides of the first ward, bringing in a maximum of seven wards as allowed under the Offshore Policy.

“The seven wards is the maximum, if there is only two or if there’s only one then those are the only wards that benefit. But if there is more than that is as far as we can go.”

The Coastal Area Benefit concept will be first introduced in seven wards along the West Coast of New Ireland Province.

They cover 22 villages and a population of over 8,000 people.

While the CAB for the New Irelanders is yet to be finalised, Secretary Kore says the concept aims to capture the locals’ attachment to the sea.

“Customarily we own the sea as well, but it’s communally owned by everybody in a particular area. And people have right of way to pass through your area for fishing or for customary activities out at sea, like shark callers.”

The offshore policy is one of the new policy developments contained in the revised Mining Act, which is yet to be endorsed by the National Executive Council.

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Nautilus finally admits ‘limited benefits in Solwara One project’

Post Courier | October 1, 2017

Given that there will be minimal spin-off benefits to landowners as a result of the world’s first deep sea mine, the developer says it will heavily focus on its community service obligation.

The issue of benefits has been one of the main concerns of the leaders of both New Ireland and East New Britain who were in Port Moresby last week to witness the trials being conducted on the Nautilus Minerals Inc’s mining equipment .

For the ENB delegation the issue had been raised by Florence Paisparea who is the forest and environmental coordinator of the ENB provincial administration.

Nautilus Minerals Inc vice president for the Papua New Guinea operations, Adam Wright said unlike the traditional land-based mines, the foot print of the Solwara One project, would be quite small and likewise the benefits.

Mr Wright said employment would be limited as the firm will be employing about 200 people compared to Newcrest Lihir’s 3000.

He said other spin-off business would also be limited as its operations would be out at sea and there would not need services including buses, security and laundry services all associated with the land-based mines.

Mr Wright said it had already begun implementing this project especially in the coastal areas along the West Coast of New Ireland in the coastal areas of benefits (CAB) ahead of production.

Mr Wright told the leaders from ENB the firm would be delivering its first project-a community health post on Wotum Island by the year’s end.

He said apart from health, education, infrastructure development, and business development would be other focus areas.

“What we want to do is help generate businesses that will still be going once we are gone. We are looking at areas of cocoa and copra and trying to help people rehabilitate plantations and get those industries running.

Royalty was stated as another benefit, which Mr Wright said would be paid when the company begins production.

He said from discussions held, the intention is to have that distributed down to the local level government level.
Mr Wright said there is already a draft agreement, which once finalised would be signed off.

He added that this is the agreement that will address all these issues.

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Nautilus Giant Seabed Mining Machines Will Wreak Havoc

Canadian company Nautilus is busy showing off its seabed mining machinery to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain – landowners and community leaders are unimpressed.

Pacific Scoop | September 29, 2017

Coastal communities across the Bismarck Sea under the umbrella of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors claim that Nautilus and the PNG Government do not have their consent to go ahead with experimental seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea.

“Who are these leaders from New Ireland province that Nautilus has hand selected?”, said Jonathan Mesulam of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors.

“I am from the West Coast of New Ireland Province and I hear my people’s concerns. Landowners on the west coast of New Ireland Province live only 25km from the Solwara 1 seabed mining site.”

“In June this year, more than 300 hundred people attended forums held in Namatanai and Kokopo hosted by Caritas Kavieng and the Archbishop of Rabaul. Papua New Guineans are worried about the impacts of this Canadian company’s experiment”, claimed Mr. Mesulam.

”There are too many unknowns and challenges in operating this equipment in our precious oceans. These are giant instruments of torture for our marine environment that is already stressed by pollution, over fishing and rising sea levels. Why is our Government burdening our island and coastal communities with extra problems?”

Lucielle Paru of the Central Province Pressure Group said “My community lives near the testing site at Motukea Island. We do not support the development of this equipment. The dockyard on Motukea Island is nothing like the conditions on the sea floor where the mining tools will be used. These trials will not provide any evidence that the equipment is safe to use. Did the Government do any due diligence checks before it used the money of Papua New Guineans to purchase a 15% share in such a high-risk project?”

“It is foreign to Melanesian culture to become so excited about giant machinery. Our traditions protect community and nature. This foreign company is pushing their values for their own financial gain at the expense of our people. Once they try out their destructive equipment in the Bismarck sea they plan to take it to mine all around the PNG coastline. No one living next to the sea will be safe.”

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said, “Nautilus is showing off its equipment to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain to try and buy support for Solwara 1. They know local communities strongly oppose this project. Nautilus is also desperately trying to convince investors that they are making progress. The company is struggling financially because Solwara 1 is very risky economically as well as environmentally.”

“This level of risk has scared off responsible investors who refuse to gamble with people’s lives and futures.”

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Japan Starts Mining Hydrothermal Deposits

Subsea News | 28 September, 2017

Japan has carried out the world’s first mining and lift test of hydrothermal deposits at about 1,600 meters depth in the ocean near Okinawa, the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) confirmed earlier this week.

The success of this test, which reportedly extracted zinc and other metals, should be a major step toward establishing the technologies required for ocean mineral resource development.

In addition to the results of this test, Japan plans to carry out economic evaluation such as resource amount assessment and environmental survey. According to the Ministry, the first test confirmed that there is no serious influence on the surrounding environment.

“We are planning to comprehensively promote efforts towards commercialization of submarine hydrothermal deposits by promoting economic evaluation and environmental investigation,” the Ministry said in a statement.

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