Nautilus Minerals has signed agreements with United Engineering Services LLC to provide support services associated with wet testing the company’s seafloor production equipment and storing the equipment as it is delivered from various suppliers prior to integration onto Nautilus’ production support vessel (PSV).

The first of the equipment to be tested will be the three types of Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs). The SPTs are due for delivery from the Soil Machine Dynamics facility in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, early in 2016. Each machine is undergoing commissioning and factory acceptance testing, which has been conducted in dry conditions on land. Once delivered, the SPTs will undergo extensive wet testing at Duqm Port in Oman, which is designed to provide a submerged demonstration of the fully assembled SPTs and will involve submerged testing of control systems operations and feedback; hydraulic functions; collection system functions; and survey and visualization systems.

On completion of the wet testing, the SPTs will be stored at UES facilities in Duqm, Oman, for preservation and maintenance until integration on the PSV, which is expected to occur in 2017.

Nautilus’ copper-gold project, Solwara 1, is under development in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea. The company has been granted the environment permit and mining lease required for resource development at this site.

Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO, said, “It is very exciting to have the SPTs all fully assembled as we prepare for wet testing. We appreciate the ongoing support from our largest shareholder, MB Holding Co., who is assisting us with the wet testing and provision of storage facilities in Oman. We look forward to the next phase of development to wet test our equipment as we work toward commencing our seafloor operations in Q1 2018.”

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