Nautilus Minerals has entered into an agreement for the charter of a vessel to be first deployed for use at the Solwara 1 Project.
Marine Assets Corporation (MAC), a marine solutions company based in Dubai which specialises in the delivery of new build support vessels for the offshore industry, will own and provide the marine management of the vessel. The vessel will be chartered to Nautilus for a minimum period of five years at a rate of US$199,910 per day, with options to either extend the charter or purchase the vessel at the end of the five year period.
The vessel will first serve as the operational base for the joint venture (Solwara 1 JV) to be formed by Nautilus and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s nominee, Eda Kopa, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Limited, to support the operations carried out by the Solwara 1 JV to extract and to transport high grade copper and gold material from the Project site, in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea.
Under the terms of the arrangement, MAC will enter into a contract with Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding, based in Fujian province in south-eastern China, to design and construct the vessel in accordance with Nautilus’ specifications. The Shipbuilding Contract is expected to be signed by no later than 28 November 2014. A US$10M deposit is payable by Nautilus to MAC following the payment by MAC of the first installment under the Shipbuilding Contract. A further charterer’s guarantee of US$18M will be provided to MAC by the Solwara 1 JV on the commencement of the charter of the vessel.
When completed, the vessel will measure 227 metres in length and 40 metres in width with accommodation for up to 180 people and generate approximately 31MW of power. All of the below deck mining equipment will be installed in the vessel during the build process to minimize the equipment integration to be completed following delivery of the vessel. The vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.
Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO, commented: “We are excited to achieve this significant 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.”