“We (Nautilus) are very excited that the commissioning of the final of the three SPTs has begun,” chief executive officer Mike Johnston said.
“With the bulk cutter and the collecting machine having already begun factory acceptance testing and now with the auxiliary cutter underway, we are on track to complete this testing phase and take delivery of the three SPTs in fourth quarter of 2015.”
The auxiliary cutter can weigh up to 250 tonnes when fully assembled. It was a preparatory machine that would deal with rough terrain and create benches for other SPTs to work.
The excavation and collection of mineralised material had been split into three individual tasks, which would each be carried out by a different SPT.
The cutter was designed as a pioneering tool to prepare the rugged sea bed for more a powerful bulk cutter.
These two tools would gather excavated material; the third, the collecting machine, would collect the cut material by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to a subsea pump and on to the vessel via a riser and lifting system.