Nautilus Minerals announces that the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s nominee for participation in the company’s Solwara 1 project last week placed US$113 million into escrow, representing the balance of funding for the State nominee's 15% share of capital required to complete the project's development phase up to first production.

On April 24 the company announced it had resolved the dispute with the State and signed an agreement with the State’s nominee, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd, a subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd, enabling the project to move forward toward production.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston says, “The fact that the State’s nominee has placed the money into escrow well in advance of the July 31 deadline in the agreement further demonstrates the support the State now has for the project, as we continue to work together as partners in this new deep sea mining industry.”

With Eda Kopa having paid into escrow the funds, Nautilus must now secure the charter of a production support vessel and secure for Eda Kopa, certain intellectual property rights within 6 months. The funds will be released to Nautilus on the satisfaction of both conditions.

The company will now focus its attention on securing a suitable vessel arrangement and is continuing discussions with potential vessel partners, while also undertaking a tender process with shipyards experienced in building offshore construction vessels.

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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