The Launch and Recovery System (LARS) equipment to be used in Nautilus Minerals’ proposed seafloor mining project in Papua New Guinea has arrived at the Mawei shipyard in China. The LARS consists of very large A-frames, winches and ancillary equipment.

The LARS will be used to launch and stabilise the Seafloor Production Tools during deployment from the vessel down to the seafloor and during retrieval from the seafloor back up to the vessel.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston said, “It is very exciting for us to see our equipment start to arrive at the Mawei shipyard in China.

“The next step for the LARS will be its integration onto the Production Support Vessel (PSV), commencing in June after import/customs clearances and minor re-assembly.

“The LARS’ installation marks the start of our equipment integration onto the PSV, and will be undertaken by Mawei shipyard personnel with support from Nautilus and the equipment vendors. The vessel build remains on schedule, and we look forward to seeing more of the equipment arrive for integration over the coming months.”

The LARS was built by AxTech on behalf of Soil Machine Dynamics as part of Nautilus’ fabrication contract with the latter. It consists of very large A-frames, lift winches, hydraulic power units, electric power units and deck control cabins.

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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