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Ancilla Wrakuale | Post Courier

NAUTILUS Minerals says it remains committed to Papua New Guinea and the Solwara 1 Project, a high grade copper-gold project located in the Bismarck Sea between East New Britain and New Ireland Provinces.
Nautilus Minerals PNG Country Manager Mr Mel Togolo yesterday told a media information session, that deep sea resource production was a result of the world’s demand for metal as land resources are becoming stretched and grades in land based mines declining. “The world’s demand for metals continue to rise as more and more people acquire better income and buy things like fridges, houses, cars,” he said.
Mr Togolo said because it will be deep sea mining, Nautilus will be using advanced technology to extract metals from the sea floor. Extracting of minerals will occur at depths 1600 metres.
He said the extraction site is away from where fish such as tuna and any other edible fish exist within the top 400 metres water depth so they won’t be affected.
Mr Togolo said there will be minimum impact on the fish because materials going up and coming down to the sea floor will be in an enclosed pipe.
He said once the ore is separated from the sea water, the same water will be filtered and goes back to the sea floor through the same enclosed pipe, hence minimal marine impact.
Togolo explained that there won’t be any tailings discharged as well as no blasting. “Tailings only result as a result of processing. We are not processing in the country, we will process overseas”, Togolo said.
He said the five advantages of the Solwara 1 project include:

  • MINIMAL infrastructure;
  • MINIMAL overburden;
  • MINIMAL waste;
  • LIMITED social disturbance; and
  • INCREASED worker safety because everything will be controlled from a drilling control room.

Meanwhile, Togolo said they are getting good support from the National Government, including New Ireland Provincial Government, and they look forward to having discussions with East New Britain Government soon. He said the National Government is very supportive as they see this as another way to add value to what PNG already has in terms of mining and they are now sorting out commercial issues with the Government, but otherwise the company already has the approval from the Government to go ahead through its Environment and Mining Licences.
Mr Togolo said they are getting world class companies around the world to supply them with equipment and technology for the project and they will assemble everything probably in Singapore and have the vessel shipped to the project site in the Bismarck Sea.
He said they estimate the commissioning of the project to take place 20-24 months from now.