TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Nautilus Minerals, which was awarded the world's first deep-sea mining lease last month by the government of Papua New Guinea, said on Friday it has identified a second potential development project in the Bismarck sea.
Shares in the company rose 5% in Toronto on Friday morning, after a trading halt was lifted. The stock was at C$3,42 a share by 11:52.
“A deep-water exploration drilling campaign carried out at the Solwara 12 prospect, just 25 km north-west of Solwara 1, discovered intersections of mineralisation at all five drill sites,” the firm said in a statement.
The drilling involved six holes drilled approximately 1 900 m below sea-level and extending to a maximum depth of 35 m below the sea floor.
The success of the initial drilling at Solwara 12 means the company has taken a big step forward towards building a portfolio of projects in the Bismarck sea, adding to its existing Solwara 1 deposit, CEO Steve Rogers said.
“Through the current drilling campaign, Nautilus has now brought the Solwara 12 prospect into the potential project pipeline to follow Solwara 1,” he said.
The company will conduct further drilling at Solwara 12, with the aim of establishing a resource, the firm said.
The Solwara 1 deposit has a total estimated resource of 2,2-million tons of ore, including 870 000 t in the indicated category, at grades of 6,8% copper and 4,8 g/t gold.
Production is expected to start about two and a half years after Nautilus makes the decision to move ahead, and the operation will produce about 80 000 t of copper and between 150 000 oz/y and 200 000 oz/y of gold.