Nautilus Minerals said it has completed submerged trials for the first of the seafloor production tools (SPTs) set for the Solwara 1 project located in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The trials of the collecting machine (CM) have been completed at the trial facility in Motukea Island, Port Moresby, PNG. The results of trials indicate that the machine can perform to design specifications, and the team is now looking at operating enhancements, the company said.
In addition, the trials of the auxiliary cutter are said to be currently underway, and should be followed by the trials of the bulk cutter.
Regarding the company’s seafloor mining vessel currently under construction at the Mawei shipyard, Nautilus informed that the build is at approximately 70 percent.
Launch and recovery system (LARS) is progressing well under the supervision of the supplier AXTech. The 200T and 100T ship’s cranes have been delivered to the shipyard by Macgregor and one of the crane pedestals has already been fitted on to the deck.
The lift winches and spoolers for the SPT LARS have also been shipped from Korea to the shipyard.
Nautilus has further informed that Honghua is undertaking trial assembly of the derrick and associated substructure at its fabrication facility in Chengdu. This equipment is required for the deployment of the subsea slurry lift pump and riser.
Subject to further financing, Nautilus’ objective remains to develop the commercial seafloor copper-gold mine and launch the seafloor resource production industry during the first half of 2019.
Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO said: “The system remains on track for initial production during the first half of 2019, subject to further financing as indicated previously.”