Nautilus Minerals Seabed Mining Equipment Arrives In Papua New Guinea

Submerged trials of machines, training to take place near Motukea Island

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 5, 2017) – Nautilus Minerals says the company’s seafloor production tools have arrived and will shortly commence submerged trials.

Vice-president PNG operations Adam Wright said the trials would be carried out in the next four months in an existing facility on Motukea Island near Port Moresby.

“This is a significant step forward in the development of the project,” he said.

“The trial is when we take the mining equipment submerged 10 metres deep and operate the equipment,” Wright said.

“There are four things that we really are validating at the trials – the stability of the equipment, the cutting efficiency (how it cuts the rock), the collection efficiency (how it can pick up the rock that’s been cut) and the visualisation technology (how the machine can see under water, how the operator can see what he is doing underwater),” he said,

Nautilus chief executive Mike Johnston, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to complete these trials in PNG rather than overseas.

“Not only will it result in putting over K6 million [US$1.8 million] into the PNG economy and employing Papua New Guineans, it will also ensure that our partner Kumul Mineral Holdings, officers from the MRA (Mineral Resources Authority), CEPA (Conservation and Environment Protection Authority), and both New Ireland and East New Britain provincial governments can participate in the trials.

“It is important to note that the machines will not be deployed into the ocean. So there will be no impact on the seafloor around Motukea Island.

“Instead, the machines will operate in an existing fully enclosed excavation on the island.”

According to Nautilus, the machines use established technology from deep sea trenching and coal mining industries and the trials will demonstrate that capability.

As part of the trials, Nautilus will be training Papua New Guineans to operate the equipment.

The National
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