PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Toronto-based Nautilus Minerals is a step closer to being the first seafloor massive sulphide miner with the signing of a new offtake agreement for its Solwara 1 copper-gold project in the Bismarck Sea. Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group has agreed to purchase the ore, with first delivery expected in H1 2018.
The copper payment will be for 95% of recoverable copper as determined by locked cycle tests on samples of shipments. The gold payment is fixed at 50% of the contained gold in the mineralized material which represents a premium payment for gold compared to an earlier deal. Payment for silver is fixed at 30% of contained silver in the mineralized material. The Asian international copper concentrate benchmark will still be used as the basis for smelter treatment and refining charges related to the recoverable copper.
The new agreement that replaced the one drafted in 2012 offers cost savings and less business risk to Nautilus, said the company. In return, Tongling now has the freedom to make exclusive processing decisions for the material. Tongling will construct a mineral processing plant, and those costs will be recovered through a fixed plant capital fee payable by Nautilus over the length of the agreement.
Details of the Solwara 1 mining plan are posted at NautilusMinerals.com.