Nautilus Minerals’ Tongan subsidiary, Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd. (TOML), has been granted exploration licenses in the highly prospective Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the eastern Pacific between Hawaii and Mexico. The International Seabed Authority, which is the organization responsible for administering activity on the seafloor in international territory, granted the licenses for an initial period of 15 years.
As a result of exploration conducted in the 1980s, the CCZ is known to host significant deposits of polymetallic nodules, rich in copper, nickel, manganese and cobalt, lying on the seafloor in water depths starting at 4,500 m. TOML, under the sponsorship of the Tongan government, has been granted approximately 75,000 km2 of exploration territory in the CCZ.
Nautilus CEO Steve Rogers said the award of the exploration permit presented exciting opportunities for the long-term growth and expansion of the company. “At Nautilus, with our first project at Solwara 1 in the Bismarck Sea, we are adapting technologies to access seafloor mineral resources in water depths of 1,600 m. Ultimately, we intend to seek to establish the capacity to expand operations to undertake larger-scale projects envisaged in the deeper waters of the CCZ.”