The Solwara 1 Joint Venture comprising Nautilus Minerals and Eda Kopa (Solwara) Limited has taken delivery of the three Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) to be used in the Solwara 1 seafloor project in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.
The SPTs have been constructed at Soil Machine Dynamics Limited’s (SMD) facility in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and are now en route to Oman, where they are scheduled to undergo extensive wet testing at Duqm Port.
Nautilus plans to use the SPTs to cut and extract high grade copper and gold from the seafloor at the Solwara 1 Joint Venture’s project site in the Bismarck Sea, with seafloor production operations planned to commence in quarter one of 2018.
Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston said, “The Solwara 1 Joint Venture partners are delighted to have achieved this major milestone and we are looking forward to undertaking the extensive wet testing program that we have planned.
“Whilst the SPTs are the product of extensive collaboration with a wide range of industry leading groups, I would like to make special mention of SMD, whose world leading expertise in the design, operation and maintenance of deep water robotics, cutting and trenching equipment has been instrumental in the development of the SPTs.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with SMD during the wet testing program and into the production phase of the Solwara 1 Project.”
SMD’s CEO Andrew Hodgson said, “It has been an exciting time for us to have designed, built and now delivered these industry leading tools to Nautilus and its partner.
“SMD, together with our parent company China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation Limited (CRRC) are leading the way in the construction of remote mining and deep sea excavation technology. We look forward to working with Nautilus on the continued development of these and subsequent tools.”
CRRC is a majority Chinese state-owned corporation, the world’s largest train manufacturer and one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies by market capitalization. CRRC was formed on June 1, 2015 with the merger of China CNR Corporation and CSR Corporation Limited. CRRC purchased SMD in early 2015, as part of its strategic diversification out of the Chinese market.