Nautilus sets date for final trial of seafloor tools


NAUTILUS Minerals says submerged trials of the collecting machine and auxiliary cutter were completed late last year.
The company highlighted this in a statement when it provided an update on submerged trials for the company’s seafloor production tools with the final machine – the bulk cutter – due to finish trials next month.
Nautilus said that to date, the bulk cutter had completed commissioning of the power and control system, onshore functions testing, submerged function testing and submerged endurance trials.
The rest of the trials will focus on overall cutting performance, a key criteria for this piece of machinery. Ongoing analysis of the results to date indicates that the seafloor production tools can perform to design specifications, with the machine components functioning as designed in submerged conditions.
The cutting performance of the auxiliary cutter has been particularly positive.
Approximately 770 tonnes of material was cut during trials, with the Nautilus site team commenting that the material appeared at least three times harder than the mineralised material at Solwara 1, (even allowing for the hyperbaric effect on material located at seafloor depths of the Solwara 1 Project which are far greater than the depths at which the trials were conducted).
The company will provide a comprehensive analysis once all test work and data analysis is complete.
Nautilus’ chief executive Mike Johnston said: “We are extremely pleased with the progress that continues to be made on the trialing of the seafloor production tools. The results of the trials to date indicate that the machines have been meeting and/or exceeding their key design specifications.
“These results have been achieved through the dedicated work of our staff, key contractors (SMD and KDI), support staff (Curtain Brothers PNG) and within a tight budget.
“The performance of these machines is critical to our seafloor production system, and the results to date significantly de-risk the project.
“We look forward to providing future updates once the bulk cutter trialing is completed.”