The steel cutting ceremony for Nautilus Minerals’ production support vessel occurred on Friday, September 25. The vessel will be used by Nautilus and its PNG partner, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd, as the base for seafloor operations planned at the Solwara 1 Project, in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea.

The ceremony took place at the shipyard of Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd in China. It was attended by Fujian Shipbuilding Industry Group Company Ltd general manager Xie Rongxing, Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd chairman Zhang Zhitong and general manager Huang Yihao, Greater China (ABS) senior vice president Kwok-Wai Lee, Marine Assets Corporation (MAC) CEO Robin Reeves and representatives from the MAC team. MAC will own and provide the marine management of the production support vessel, which will be chartered to Nautilus.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston said, “I am delighted that steel cutting has happened on schedule and in line with our plan to commence testing and initial production activities at Solwara 1. As we have now moved into the physical construction phase of the vessel, it was important to mark such a significant occasion.

“We have worked with Fujian Mawei Shipyard, MAC and others on our project for nearly a year now, and have established a very good relationship, which will continue over the coming years.

“Our objective remains to develop the world’s first commercial high grade seafloor copper-gold project and launch the deep water seafloor resource production industry.

“With the eyes of the world waiting to see the dawn of this new industry, we look forward to taking delivery of the vessel in December 2017 to enable us to commence our seafloor operations in quarter one of 2018.”

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 Papua New Guinea, 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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