In its quest to be the pioneer of seafloor massive sulphides mining, Canadian listed and New Zealand-linked Nautilus Minerals Inc TSX: NUS; OTC: NUSMF) has announced successful testing of its autonomous sediment sampler system.
It is called a spider, with this unit to help with recovery of high grade seafloor copper, gold and other minerals dubbed the Nautilus Jumping Spider.
The company said the spider sports a number of “tubular” legs. On landing on the seafloor, a mechanical trigger starts both the suction system that delivers sediment up the tubular legs and into the sample housing.
Following release of a biodegradable sacrificial ballast weight, a deep-sea float lifts the sampler back to surface for later collection.
The spider inspired samplers have been developed to allow the Nautilus exploration team to significantly increase sediment collection efficiencies from the seafloor while decreasing costs, potentially by an order of magnitude.
The company plans to test its extensive permits in both Papua New Guinea and Tonga, in the latter part of 2018, subject to financing.
Chief executive Mike Johnston said: “The innovation of the exploration team in developing this simple yet very user friendly sediment sampler must be commended.
“Over the years, Nautilus and its technology partners have developed a number of low-cost tools, to assist with its exploration and development efforts (ROV drills, self-potential and electromagnetic subsea geophysical systems, and various water column and seafloor geochemical sampling systems).”
Johnston said along with other exploration techniques, including seabed drilling, the team is looking to build a pipeline of projects and resources to feed the mobile mining system currently under construction.
Nautilus’ first project is the Solwara-1 deposit in PNG’s Bismarck Sea and the PNG Government was a minor partner.