First Deep Sea Mining Production Vessel Launched in China

Toronto-based Nautilus Minerals Inc. has announced that its newbuild deep sea mining production support vessel has been launched at the Mawei shipyard in China.

The vessel, named Nautilus New Era, will be used by Nautilus and its partner, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Limited, to mine for gold and copper at the Solwara 1 Project site in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea.

“Today’s launch is a significant milestone for the Company and the deep water seafloor mining industry,” said Mike Johnston, CEO of Nautilus. “Mawei Yard has designed and built the world’s first Deep Sea Mining Production Support Vessel, in cooperation with Nautilus and Marine Assets Corporation.”

About the Nautilus New Era

The Production Support Vessel (PSV), which Nautilus will charter from Dubai-based Marine Assets Corporation for a minimum period of 5 years, will be equipped with a dynamic positioning system which will provide a stable platform for deepsea mining operations irrespective of wind and wave conditions. The vessel is designed by SeaTech Solutions. 

The PSV will be equipped with a moonpool through which the Subsea Slurry and Lift Pump (SSLP) and riser system can be deployed. On deck, the slurry will be dewatered and the solid material will be stored temporarily in the PSV’s hull, and then discharged to a transportation vessel moored alongside. Filtered seawater is then pumped back to the seafloor through the riser pipes.

When completed, the PSV will measure 227 meters in length and 40 meters in width with accommodation for up to 180 people and generate approximately 31MW of power. 

Final delivery of the vessel is scheduled for March 31, 2019.

“We believe that mining the seafloor for much-needed minerals will be a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly source of obtaining high-grade copper, gold and silver. Nautilus further differentiates itself from others by having a “first-mover advantage” which is protected by intellectual property and 20 patents. Once our new vessel is delivered, and subject to final funding, mining operations at 1600m water depth is anticipated to commence in late 2019,” added Johnston

First production at the Solwara 1 project is scheduled for the third quarter of 2019. 

Photos Credit: Nautilus Minerals