Mechanical and hydraulic assembly of the second of three Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) for Nautilus Minerals, the Collecting Machine, has been completed at Soil Machine Dynamics’ facility at Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Commissioning of the Collecting Machine systems has commenced.
The Collecting Machine is the lightest of the three SPTs, weighing 200 tonnes when fully assembled. It is designed to collect material cut from the seafloor by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the Riser and Lifting System and onto the vessel.
Nautilus’ CEO, Mike Johnston said, “Having already completed the assembly of the Bulk Cutter, we are delighted that the assembly of the Collecting Machine has been completed and commissioning has begun. This is an exciting time for the company as we continue with the build of the seafloor production equipment while work has also started toward the build of our production support vessel. We look forward to finalizing the assembly of the third and final SPT, the Auxiliary Cutter.”
The excavation and collection of mineralized material has been split into three individual tasks, which will each be carried out by a different SPT. The Auxiliary Cutter is designed as the pioneering tool which prepares the rugged sea bed for the more powerful Bulk Cutter. These two tools gather the excavated material; the third, the Collecting Machine, will collect the cut material by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the subsea pump and on to the vessel via the Riser and Lifting System.