Nautilus ends assembly of collecting machine

THE operator of the Solwara 1 Project in the waters of Bismarck Sea , Nautilus Minerals (Nautilus) has announced the mechanical and hydraulic assembling of its second of three Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs), the collecting machine (CM), has been completed at Soil Machine Dynamics’ facility at Newcastle upon Tyne, in the United Kingdom.

The company also announced the commissioning of the CM systems has now commenced, according to a statement released at the weekend.

Nautilus’ chief executive officer (CEO) Mike Johnston said in a statement; "having already completed the assembly of the Bulk Cutter, we are delighted that the assembly of the Collecting Machine has now been completed and commissioning has begun.

This is an exciting time for the Company as we continue with the build of the seafloor production equipment while work has also started toward the build of our production support vessel. We look forward to finalising the assembly of the third and final SPT, the Auxiliary Cutter."

The statement highlighted that the CM is the lightest of the three SPTs, weighing 200 tonnes when fully assembled. It is designed to collect material cut from the seafloor by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the riser and lifting system and onto the vessel.

The world’s first ever deep-sea miner said the excavation and collection of mineralised material has been split into three individual tasks, which will each be carried out by a different SPT.

The Auxiliary Cutter is designed as the pioneering tool which prepares the rugged sea bed for the more powerful Bulk Cutter.

The company said the two tools gather the excavated material; the third, the CM, will collect the cut material by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the subsea pump and on to the vessel via the Riser and Lifting System.

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 between the New Ireland and New Britian Provinces, 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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