VANCOUVER – Imagination and geology might combine to make NAUTILUS MINERALS GROUP the first to mine base metals from the ocean floor. The company has identified mineral-rich zones in the Manus Basin off the coast of Papua New Guinea where streams of molten metal suphide have risen through cracks in the Earth’s crust forming underwater chimneys.
Nautilus aims to take advantage of improvements in sub-sea technologies developed by the oil & gas and telecommunications industries over the last 30 years. Its copper-zinc deposits are located 2,000 metres below the ocean surface, within the envelope of existing technologies, says the company.
In February 2005, PLACER DOME funded and managed a geophysical survey of the area for Nautilus. The survey was the first to use geophysical techniques to locate inactive areas of deposition on the seafloor rather than the detection of the plume from active formations. Nautilus’ interpretation of the geophysics shows the Suzette field measuring 280,000 m with a strike length of roughly 600 metres by 460 metres and the Craw measuring 100,000 m. Nautilus’ calculated weighted average from Placer’s recent sampling program at Suzette is 13.7 g/t Au, 10.8% Cu, 3.65% Zn and 220 g/t Ag. These grades, notes Nautilus, are reminiscent of those mined at Broken Hill and Mount Isa 100 years ago.
Nautilus has given Placer Dome an option to earn up to a 75% interest in the high-gold portion of the property by spending US$35 million on testing. Placer is planning a US$4-million core drilling program for the first quarter of 2006. Nautilus will retain 100% interest in the copper-zinc-rich deposits with less than 3 g/t Au.
Nautilus would like to outline a resource that would support annual production of 200 million lb of copper and 440 million lb of zinc in concentrates.
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