SUBSEA miner Nautilus Minerals Inc. has reported it has been successfully undertaking submerged trials for the company’s Seafloor Production Tools, with the final machine, the Bulk Cutter, due to finish trials next month.
Submerged trials of the Collecting Machine and Auxiliary Cutter were completed late last year.
To date the Bulk Cutter has completed commissioning of the power and control system, on-shore functions testing, submerged function testing and submerged endurance trials. Remaining trials will focus on overall cutting performance, a key criteria for this machine.
Nautilus said ongoing analysis of the results to date indicates that the Seafloor Production Tools can perform to design specifications with the machine components all 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 appears at least three times harder than the mineralised material at its Solwara 1 project off the PNG coast, (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).
Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston, the company was extremely pleased with the progress that continues to be made on the trialling 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), and support staff (Curtain Brothers, Papua New Guinea), 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.”