Nautilus Minerals has entered into an agreement with Marine Assets Corp. for construction and charter of a vessel to be deployed in support of Nautilus’s Solwara 1 seafloor mining project in the Bismarck Sea, New Ireland province, Papua New Guinea. The vessel will serve as the operations base for a joint venture to be formed by Nautilus and Papua New Guinea state company Eda Kopa.

When completed, the vessel will measure 227 m in length and 40 m in width, with accommodations for up to 180 people. It will be capable of generating approximately 31 MW of power.

All of the below-deck mining equipment will be installed in the vessel during the build process to minimize the equipment integration to be completed following delivery of the vessel. The vessel is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.

Marine Assets Corp. is a Dubai company that specializes in the delivery of new-built support vessels for the offshore industry. It will own and provide the marine management of the Solwara 1 vessel. The vessel will be chartered to Nautilus for a minimum period of five years at a rate of $199,910 per day, with options to either extend the charter or purchase the vessel at the end of the five-year period.

The most recent resource update for the Solwara 1 project, published in November 2011, includes an indicated mineral resource of 1.03 million metric tons (mt) grading 7.2% copper, 5 g/mt gold, 23 g/mt silver, and 0.4 % zinc and an inferred mineral resource of 1.54 million mt grading 8.1% copper, 6.4 g/mt gold, 34 g/mt silver, and 0.9% zinc.