Nautilus Minerals has started wet testing of its new seafloor diamond drill rig, which the company has developed to relieve the drilling requirements of its future exploration programs.
The scope of the testing is to check the operational functionality of the drill rig’s control systems, landing capability, hydraulic functions, video survey systems, and drilling cycle time/performance, in a submerged environment.
The testing will also look at the system’s ability to sustain simulated offshore operations at optimal productivity levels while familiarising personnel with all aspects of the equipment and operations, in a reduced cost environment, Nautilus explained.
The Nautilus developed rig, nick-named the “Hobbit” scout rig, has according to the company met design targets in a series of land-based trials, largely focused on rod handling, functional drilling, and landing stability tests.
This wet test program will occur over a two-week period, and will expand the testing parameters to include submerged operations and mechanical endurance.
Nautilus will then look to deploy the rig on its South Pacific tenements on successful completion of the trials, subject to raising further funding.