SMD Delivers Solwara 1 Seafloor Production Tools

SMD building 2nd deep sea mining vehicle for Nautilus.

Solwara 1 Joint Venture, comprising Nautilus Minerals and Eda Kopa (Solwara) Limited, has taken delivery of three seafloor production tools (SPTs) from Soil Machine Dynamics’ (SMD) facility in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The three SPTs are now en route to Oman, where they are scheduled to undergo wet testing at Duqm Port. Nautilus plans to use the SPTs to cut and extract high grade copper and gold from the seafloor at the Solwara 1 Joint Venture’s project site in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea, with seafloor production operations planned to start in Q1 2018.

Nautilus’ CEO, Mike Johnston, said “The Solwara 1 Joint Venture partners are delighted to have achieved this major milestone and we are looking forward to undertaking the extensive wet testing program that we have planned. Whilst the SPTs are the product of extensive collaboration with a wide range of industry leading groups, I would like to make special mention of SMD. SMD’s world leading expertise in the design, operation and maintenance of deep water robotics, cutting and trenching equipment has been instrumental in the development of the SPTs. We look forward to continuing our relationship with SMD during the wet testing program and into the production phase of the Solwara 1 Project.”

Andrew Hodgson, SMD’s CEO, said: “It has been an exciting time for us to have designed, built and now delivered these industry leading tools to Nautilus and its partner. SMD, together with our parent company China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation Limited are leading the way in the construction of remote mining and deep sea excavation technology. We look forward to working with Nautilus on the continued development of these and subsequent tools.”

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