PAPUA NEW GUINEA — Toronto’s Nautilus Minerals has fallen victim to the world’s crumbling economy and deferred the building of the mining system it order for its Solwara 1 ocean floor project. Orders for the riser and lifting system and seafloor mining tool have been deferred. The acquisition of a mining support vessel has been terminated. Both contracts contained no penalties for delay or termination. The workforce has been reduced by 30%. Nautilus announced its decision in a bid to preserve capital. Various engineering, testing programs and exploration will continue.
The announcement was made less than a week after Nautilus said its partner Teck Cominco of Vancouver discovered a new seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) system, Solwara 11. Picking the “best” assay is difficult because various holes returned differing values: 23.8% Cu in one, 31.2% Zn in another, up to 2.1 g/t Au and 420.0 g/t Ag. The best lead grade was12.7%. (See the news release dated Dec. 12, 2008.)
Prior to the deferral announcement, the Solwara 1 project was on track for production by the end of 2010. The property is located in the Bismarck Sea, between the islands of New Britain and New Ireland.
Several corporate presentations offering details of the project are posted at www.NautilusMinerals.com.