Nautilus begins monumental sea floor study on Solwara 1
2007-03-21 15:29 ET - News Release
Mr. David Heydon reports
NAUTILUS LAUNCHES WORLD'S LARGEST COMMERCIAL EXPLORATION PROGRAM FOR HIGH GRADE SEAFLOOR MASSIVE SULPHIDE SYSTEMS
Nautilus Minerals Inc. has commenced its 2007 exploration and development program with the mobilization on site at Papua New Guinea (PNG) today with the 141-metre vessel, Wave Mercury, and the 50-metre Aquila which departed from Seattle, Wash., United States, on Sunday, March 18.
David Heydon, Nautilus, chief executive officer, commented: "The Wave Mercury left Rabaul harbour PNG at 11.20 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, March 20, marking the start of the world's largest-ever exploration and development program for high-grade sea floor massive sulphide systems. It is due on site Solwara 1 later today. This program will see environmental, mining and metallurgical studies completed on the company's 100-per-cent-owned Solwara 1 project, where surface sampling in 2006 returned average grades of 15.5 g/t (grams per tonne) Au (gold), 9.6 per cent Cu (copper), 138 g/t silver (Ag) and 5.1 per cent Zn (zinc). Targeted stage one exploration will also be undertaken on much of the company's large PNG landholding, and will involve technical input from representatives seconded to Nautilus from Teck Cominco."
The Wave Mercury program will involve up to 180 days on site, spread over three phases of work.
Phase 1 involves 30 days of environmental studies being undertaken by a team of world-leading scientists from Australia's national science agency -- the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, ENSR Consulting, Duke University USA, Scripps Institute of Oceanography USA, University of Toronto Canada, University PNG, and a specialist from Nautilus. This work will form part of the company's EIA (environmental impact assessment).
Phase 2 involves 30 days mapping, sampling and detailed geophysical studies using one ROV (remote-operated vehicle), evaluating strategic structural and geophysical targets generated from the current Aquila cruise and the earlier 2005/2006 Nautilus-Placer Dome work programs.
Phase 3 involves up to 120 days resource definition drilling, sampling and related metallurgical, and mine development studies at the company's Solwara 1 development project with additional drill testing of selected regional targets. Drilling will be undertaken using new state-of-the-art ROV mounted drill rigs that will be deployed on the sea floor.
The associated Aquila program involves approximately 60 days of geophysical target generation over a number of structural zones. The geophysical survey contractor is Nautilus's alliance partner, Williamson and Associates, of Seattle, Wash., U.S., with data interpretation being undertaken by Nautilus's team of in-house personnel and consultants, as well as technical representatives from Teck Cominco.
Some of the regional exploration work will be undertaken on the company's tenements that may be subject to joint venture with Teck Cominco. This work will be financed by Teck Cominco from the $12-million (U.S.) it has committed to pay as part of an option to form joint ventures with Nautilus in the future.
Exercise of options
As the result of the exercise of certain options, the company has made application for 3,333 common shares to be admitted to AIM. The shares are expected to be admitted to trading on March 27, 2007.