Nautilus Minerals has identified a second potential development project in the Bismarck Sea to follow its groundbreaking Solwara 1 project, which is in the final stages of planning.
A deepwater exploration drilling campaign at the Solwara 12 prospect, just 25km northwest of Solwara 1, discovered intersections of mineralization at all five drill sites. The drilling involved six holes about 1900 metres below sea-level and extending to a maximum depth of 35 metres below the seafloor.
Preliminary results based on hand held X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis of drill core included a 7.33 metre intersect averaging 13.2% copper and 6.1% zinc, a 7.50 metre intersect averaging 9.3% copper and 6% zinc, and a 5.29 metre intersect averaging 11.4% copper and 1.4% zinc.
Nautilus' CEO Steve Rogers says the success of the initial drilling at Solwara 12 is a major step in the implementation of the company's strategy of developing a pipeline of projects in the Bismarck Sea.
“Previous grab-sampling has identified 16 seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) systems in the Bismarck Sea. Through the current drilling campaign, Nautilus has now brought the Solwara 12 prospect into the potential project pipeline to follow Solwara 1. This is a key step in the implementation of our business model which allows us to aggregate resources at successive locations with minimal incremental capital expenditure,” he said.
Upon the completion of the initial drilling program at Solwara 12 earlier this year, the drilling vessel REM Etive has moved to Solwara 5, after which it is scheduled to return to Solwara 1 to carry out additional exploration and geotechnical drilling.
Before demobilizing, REM Etive will travel back to Solwara 12 to conduct follow-up drilling with the aim of establishing a resource. Solwara 12 remains open in all directions.
In addition to the preliminary drilling results for Solwara 12, Nautilus has received certified assay results for drilling carried out at Solwara 1 earlier this year.
The results continue to highlight significant mineralization, including a 7.85 metre intercept averaging 10.2% copper and 3.4 grams/tonne gold, a 5.48 metre intercept averaging 14.9% copper and 6.5 grams/tonne gold, and a 7.63 metre intercept averaging 8.9% copper and 5.3 grams/tonne gold. Individual samples reported gold grades of up to 21.6 grams/tonne and copper grades up to 24.3%.