Nautilus Minerals has been advised by Soil Machine Dynamics Limited (SMD) that the umbilical winches for the three Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) have successfully completed Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT). The company has also been advised by GE Oil and Gas that it will recommence assembly of the Subsea Slurry and Lift Pump (SSLP) in July this year.

Regarding the winches, Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston says, “Completion of FAT on the umbilical winches marks another significant step in the journey towards seafloor mining in 2018. The winches are now ready for the installation of the umbilical cable.

“When this task is completed later this year the winches will be dispatched to the shipyard for integration on to the vessel.”

The Solwara 1 winches are approximately 85 tonnes and manage the feed-out and recovery of the SPTs’ umbilicals. There is one winch for each SPT. The winches store 2500 metres of armoured umbilical, with the umbilical providing the power and control systems to the SPTs through copper wire and fibre optic cables embedded within the armoured casing. The umbilical winches will be installed on the production support vessel.

The umbilical winches were designed and built by SMD. The winches are based on standard oil and gas industry technology and are utilized throughout the world in deep water construction and related activities.

The umbilical cables that will be installed in the winches were designed and adapted for Nautilus’ use by German company Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke, a leading manufacturer of communications, submarine, overhead, power and offshore cables as well as engineering plastics and environmental products.

Regarding the SSLP, Mike Johnston says, “We are delighted to have been advised that the SSLP will be coming out of storage shortly and its assembly will recommence in July this year. The SSLP is a key piece of equipment in Nautilus’ plan to produce copper, gold and other metals from the deep ocean, with a very small environmental footprint. We look forward to taking delivery of the finished pump mid next year.”

The SSLP and riser system transfers the mineralized material as slurry from the deep ocean up onto the Production Support Vessel (PSV), where the mineralized solids are removed. The filtered return water is transferred back down to the pump via the auxiliary riser pipes where it is released back into the same environment from which it originally came from.

GE Oil and Gas produces these types of pumps for the offshore oil and gas industry, where amongst other things, they are designed to help limit the environmental impacts of drill cuttings in deep water drilling operations by helping recover the cuttings for eventual storage on land.

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