Nautilus Minerals has completed a successful polymetallic nodule exploration program to the Pacific’s Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ). The work was carried out over a CCZ contract area solely owned by Nautilus’ subsidiary Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd (TOML).
The 54-day Seattle to Seattle program, conducted aboard the RV Mt Mitchell vessel, utilized multibeam sonar to map the bathymetry and distribution of polymetallic nodules containing nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese, an important step for focusing future work to better defining the resource estimate, while enabling engineering study commencement.
Nodule samples were also obtained using an epi-benthic sled for preliminary metallurgical test work. Sample data is being sorted and catalogued before being sent for assay. Nautilus also undertook preliminary environmental observations at several sites ahead of future studies.
Nautilus Minerals’ interim CEO and TOML director Mike Johnston says, “The completion of this successful exploration program represents a key step for us in advancing TOML’s CCZ project. The high quality, detailed multibeam data is being interpreted to enable us to focus our next sampling program for the purpose of upgrading the resource estimate. Preliminary engineering studies and metallurgical test work will commence on the data shortly.”
Nautilus is the first company to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Nautilus was granted the first mining lease at the Solwara 1 prospect in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea, where it seeks to produce copper, gold and silver.
Nautilus also holds about 500,000sqkm of highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific - in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga - as well as in international waters in the eastern Pacific.