Negotiations are underway between Nautilus Minerals (TSX: NUS; OTCQX: NUSMF) and a funder for the production support vessel (PSV) for the high-grade minerals mining operation on the seabed in Papua New Guinea waters.
Nautilus development work for the Solwara-1 copper-gold and other metals in the Bismarck Sea has been held up by the original PSV ship developer failing to complete the job.
Nautilus said talks were progressing with an arm's length third parties that would involve creation of a new joint venture company to be owned by the third parties and Nautilus’ subsidiary, Nautilus Minerals Niugini Ltd.
The purpose of this JV would be to fund acquisition of the PSV that Nautilus had previously arranged to be procured through MAC Goliath Pte Ltd and the integration costs of installing the mining equipment on the PSV.
The vessel JV would own and operate the fully integrated PSV and charter to the existing Solwara-1 joint venture between Nautulus and the Papua New Government’s Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd.
Some time ago the Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Ltd, which was building the PSV, told Nautilus that it was rescinding the shipbuilding contract. Nautilus said the shipyard has continued to install components of Nautilus' seafloor production equipment on the PSV.
Nautilus is also in discussions with its key lender Deep Sea Mining Finance Ltd to extend the maturity date of the existing secured loan facility, which is currently February 8, 2019, to allow sufficient time for the current PSV transactions to be completed.