Tide turns for Ocean floor mining

The sea floor around Papua New Guinea. Photo: Anderson Smith
The sea floor around Papua New Guinea. Photo: Anderson Smith

Nautilus Minerals’ vision of mining the ocean floor for gold, copper and silver has taken a major leap forward with the settlement of a long standing dispute with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government.

 

Nautilus has pioneered the idea of commercial deep sea mining, winning the world’s first ocean floor mining lease from PNG and being granted an environmental permit for the project. Production should have started by the end of 2013 but has been delayed by a two year dispute over project funding. An arbitrator found in Nautilus’ favour in October last year.

 

The settlement announced by Nautilus gives PNG an initial 15% stake in the Solwara 1 Project, in the Bismarck Sea, north of PNG, with an option to take another 15% stake within 12 months. A US$7 million non refundable deposit has been paid for the initial 15% stake.

 

PNG, through a subsidiary of state oil company Petromin, has until 31 July to secure funding of US$113 million for its 15% share of the capital needed to complete the development phase of the project up to first production. Once funding is secured Nautilus and PNG will form a joint venture for the on-going operation of the project.

 

Nautilus will then have six months to secure charter of a Production Support Vessel and secures intellectual property rights for PNG. After production starts Petromin’s subsidiary will contribute funds in proportion to its stake in the project.

 

Nautilus' CEO, Mike Johnston, said: "This step represents a major vote of confidence in Nautilus Minerals and the Solwara 1 Project. Through this joint venture, the State will provide a significant capital investment and will retain a direct interest in the long term success of the Project. We look forward to working closely with the State and Petromin on Solwara 1, which will generate significant economic activity within the State and the Province of New Ireland."

 

Nautilus is in discussions with potential vessel partners and is undertaking a tender process with shipyards experienced in building offshore construction vessels. Mr Johnston said it was intended to have a vessel solution in place before the end of the year.

Please rate

Comments 

Name
Email
  Ctrl + Enter

Most Read

 FirstGroup to launch budget London to Edinburgh rail service

FirstGroup to launch budget London to Edinburgh rail service

FirstGroup is to launch a budget direct London-Edinburgh rail service next month, which it hopes will lure air passengers to the train as a cheaper and greener alternative.   The new service, branded Lumo, will have just one single class of travel and the company hopes it will carry more than

Record infrastructure pipeline investment to support future workforce

Record infrastructure pipeline investment to support future workforce

This infrastructure pipeline includes the projected future workforce demand based on planned investment in projects and programmes. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) estimates that in the four-year period up to 2024/25, over 425,000 individuals will be needed on an average

One year on: HS2 reaches 20,000 jobs landmark

One year on: HS2 reaches 20,000 jobs landmark

Companies right across the country are now forming part of HS2’s ever-growing supply chain. Contracts have already been awarded to over 2,200 businesses, 97% of which are UK-based.   HS2’s jobs boost is also benefitting those in need, with bespoke initiatives designed to

This website uses cookies to enhance your user experience. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of these cookies. See our Cookie Policy.