The Production Support Vessel (PSV) for use at the Solwara 1 seafloor project in Papua New Guinea was floated in the dry dock last week to allow the launch of two adjacent vessels. The PSV is to be used by Nautilus Minerals and its PNG partner, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Limited, as the base for planned seafloor operations in the Bismarck Sea.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston said, “The company was very excited to see the PSV floated in the dry dock last week, as it shows the fantastic progress the team at the Fujian Mawei Shipyard Ltd (FMSL) and Marine Assets Corporate (MAC) have made over the past three months.

“When you consider the first block for the PSV was laid on June 10 this year, to having a 220 metre hull able to be floated some 14 weeks later, it is a huge achievement by FMSL and a significant milestone for our company.

“We have worked with FMSL, MAC and others on the PSV for over two years now. During this time we have established a very good working relationship, with very capable stakeholders. We are now looking forward to continuing that strong working relationship as we progress the final build phase and fit out of the vessel.”

Subject to further financing, Nautilus’ objective remains to develop the world’s first commercial high grade seafloor copper-gold mine and launch the seafloor resource production industry.

Nautilus advises of vessel progress as at October 6: production drawings issued - 90%; steel cut out of a total of 20,068 tonnes - 90%; blocks completed, structure fabrication - 90%; blocks completed, assembly and painting - 83%; blocks lifted to dry dock - 65%; and blocks completed erection in dry dock - 36%.

Nautilus is the first company to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Nautilus was granted the first mining lease for such deposits at the prospect known as Solwara 1, in the territorial waters of PNG, where it is aiming to produce copper, gold and silver. The company has also been granted its environmental permit for this site.

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