Nautilus-State joint venture

Business, Normal

The National, Friday July 19th, 2013


NAUTILUS will pursue its seafloor copper-gold project in a joint venture with the State, chief executive Mike Johnston says.

He mentioned this on Wednesday updating progress of the Solwara 1 project. 

Johnston said the State and Nautilus have agreed to form a joint venture (JV).  

Under the PNG Mining Act, the State has taken up a 30% stake in the project.

PNG first welcomed Nautilus Minerals Niugini Ltd and the potential deep sea minerals industry in 1997.

For several years, Nautilus and its partners conducted exploration and research activities at Solwara 1, including developing and successfully introducing state-of-the-art technology such as the ROVDrill (a remotely-operated drilling system that works on the seafloor).

Johnston said the project had the key permits it needed and Nautilus has built the equipment to be used in extracting deposit. 

“The equipment known as the seafloor production system has three main components: the seafloor production tools (SPTs), the riser and lifting system (RALS) and the production support vessel (PSV). 

“The SPTs are 75% complete with the assembly of one of the tools (the Bulk Cutter) underway.

“The RALS is 54% complete … basic design of the vessel with preliminary class approval has been completed. 

“Nautilus remains committed to PNG and the Solwara 1 and looks forward to working with the State to move the project forward. 

“Nautilus continues to maintain a positive relationship with local communities and it is committed to contributing positively to the communities in which it works.”

Johnston said the company is supporting education, local participation and improving maritime safety.

“Nautilus Minerals looks forward to continuing and increasing these and other initiatives as the Solwara 1 project moves towards production,” he said.

Johnston added: “The State’s interest in the mining joint venture will be held through a company, which is wholly-owned by the State

“Under the joint venture, the State will contribute its 30% share of the exploration and development costs already spent and will also contribute 30% of the funds needed to bring the Solwara 1 project into production going forward. 

“Once in production, the State will then receive 30% of any profits earned by the project a part from the standard tax and royalty payments.”