Nautilus Minerals has entered into an agreement for the charter of a vessel to be first deployed for use at the Solwara 1 Project. Marine Assets Corporation (MAC), a marine solutions company based in Dubai which specialises in delivery of new build support vessels for the offshore industry, will own the vessel and provide the marine management.

The vessel will be chartered to Nautilus for a minimum of five years at a daily rate of US$199,910 with options to either extend the charter or purchase the vessel at the end of the five year period.

The vessel will first serve as the operational base for the Solwara 1 Joint Venture to be formed by Nautilus and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s nominee, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd, to support the operations carried out by the JV to extract and transport high grade copper and gold material from the project site in the Bismarck Sea.

Under the terms of the arrangement, MAC will enter into a contract with Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd, based in Fujian province in south-eastern China, to design and construct the vessel in accordance with Nautilus’ specifications. The shipbuilding contract is expected to be signed by no later than November 28, 2014.

When completed, the vessel will measure 227 metres in length and 40 metres in width with accommodation for up to 180 people and generate approximately 31MW of power. All of the below deck mining equipment will be installed in the vessel during the build process to minimize the equipment integration to be completed following delivery of the vessel. The vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston says, “We are excited to achieve this significant milestone and secure a vessel contract with such an experienced vessel provider as MAC. We appreciate the continued support we have received from Eda Kopa, our joint venture partner, in reaching this milestone and, together with them, look forward to working with MAC and the shipyard in seeing the delivery of our first vessel and making seafloor mining a reality.”

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