Nautilis Minerals Inc. has just announced the commencement of their wet-testing program for a new seafloor diamond drill rig.
Nautilus’ rig, which is nicknamed the ‘Hobbit’ has met preliminary targets in a series of land-based trials, of which were largely focusing on rod handling, functional drilling and stability testing. Nautilus’ wet-test program is set to occur over a two-week period, expanding the testing parameters to include submerged operations and mechanical endurance. The Canadian registered company was the first to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposit (the sulphide deposit prospect is in Papua New Guinea and known as Solwara 1).
“According to our recently released Preliminary Economic Assessment for Solwara 1, a single quarter’s production at steady state mining rates and at average Solwara deposit grades, adds around US$110 million in Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA),” said Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston.
“Hence, forward exploration is a pivotal part of our business. Our pioneering teams are overcoming traditional functional limitations and high fees in seafloor drilling, with our new ‘Hobbit’ scout rig,” said Johnston. The wet-testing program is also on par to analyse the operational functionality of the drill rig’s control systems, landing capabilities, hydraulic functions, video survey systems, and drilling cycle time/performance, all in a controlled submerged environment.
Nautilus’ wet-testing program is equipped to look at the system’s ability to withstand simulated offshore operations at ideal productivity levels, whilst getting personnel accustomed to all aspects of the equipment. Once complete, Nautilus has stated they will be positioned to ‘deploy the rig on its South Pacific tenements’.