Nextbigfuture wrote about Nautilus Minerals several times since 2010. Nautilus Minerals is the first company to commercially explore the seafloor for massive sulphide systems, a potential source of high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver. Nautilus is developing a production system using existing technologies adapted from the offshore oil and gas industry, dredging and mining industries to enable the extraction of these high grade Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) systems on a commercial scale.
Nautilus’ copper-gold project, Solwara 1, is under development in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.
Assuming all goes well, robotic diggers will spend 30 months scouring the ocean floor of the Solwara 1 site, bringing up 2.5 million metric tons of ore containing metals worth more than US $1.5 billion at today’s prices. Next, the robots will likely set to work on one of Nautilus’s 18 other prospects in the Bismarck Sea or one of its 19 discoveries off the shores of the Polynesian archipelago of Tonga.
Ocean mining machines should start testing in 2016. Full ocean mining and production should begin in 2018.