Nautilus orders mining ship

NAUTILUS Minerals has entered into an agreement for the charter of a vessel to be deployed for the world’s first commercial seafloor copper-gold mine.
Nautilus orders mining ship Nautilus orders mining ship Nautilus orders mining ship Nautilus orders mining ship Nautilus orders mining ship

The vessel will extract and transport high-grade copper and gold ore from the Solwara-1 project site in the Bismarck Sea off Papua New Guinea.

Dubai-based marine solutions company Marine Assets Corporation (MAC), which specialises in the delivery of new-build support vessels for the offshore industry, will own and manage the vessel.

The vessel will be chartered to Nautilus for a minimum period of five years at a rate of $US199,910 per day, with options to either extend the charter or purchase the vessel at the end of the five-year period.

It will serve as the operational base for the Solwara-1 joint venture to be formed by Nautilus and the Papua New Guinea's state nominee Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd, a subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd.

Under the terms of the arrangement, MAC will enter into a contract with Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding in China to design and construct the vessel in line with Nautilus' specifications.

The shipbuilding contract is expected to be signed by November 28 with a $US10 million deposit payable by Nautilus to MAC following payment of the first instalment under the shipbuilding contract.

When completed, the vessel will be 227m long and 40m wide, able to accommodate 180 people and generate about 31MW of power.

All of the below-deck mining equipment will be installed in the vessel during the build process and it is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.

Nautilus CEO Mike Johnston said: "We are excited to achieve this milestone and secure a vessel contract with such an experienced vessel provider as MAC.

"We appreciate the continued support we have received from Eda Kopa, our joint venture partner, in reaching this milestone and, together with them, look forward to working with MAC and the shipyard in seeing the delivery of our first vessel and making seafloor mining a reality," he added.

Nautilus plans to separate ore from seawater in the Bismarck Sea, targeting an initial mining rate of 1.2-1.3 million tonnes per annum of dry ore to produce about 80,000tpa of copper and 150,000 ounces per annum of gold.

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