PNG Gov joins Nautilus’ seafloor mining venture
The Government of Papua New Guinea has confirmed that it intends to take up a 30% stake in the Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Specialised underwater mining equipment adapted from the oil and gas and trenching sectors will be used by Nautilus at its Solara 1 project.
Nautilus Minerals will retain a 70% holding in a joint venture to be established with the PNG Government. In a letter to Nautilus, PNG Treasurer Peter O’Neill said the Ministerial Committee on Economic Sectors and the National Executive Council (NEC) had endorsed a recommendation that the State exercise its rights to 30% equity in the a joint venture.
The transaction will involve, among other things, the government contributing funds to the project in proportion to its interest, including its share of the exploration and development costs incurred to date.
Nautilus chief executive Stephen Rogers said the company welcomed the participation of the PNG Government. “We look forward to working closely with the government on Solwara 1, which will generate significant investment for the economies of New Ireland, East New Britain and PNG.
“The successful development of Solwara 1 will pave the way for the expansion of operations to other seafloor deposits in the future, creating an exciting growth industry further benefiting PNG,” he said.
The Minister has advised that the acquisition of the holding by the PNG Government remains subject to ratification by the Office of the State Solicitor. Nautilus will work with the PNG Government to finalise the joint venture agreement and further information on the financial details of the transaction will be released within the next two months.
Nautilus is the first company to commercially explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits and is currently developing its first project. The Solwara 1 Project is located in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean.