Nautilus Minerals Inc. announced that the Jan De Nul Group
has signed the shipbuilding contract with La Naval, in Sestao Northern Spain for the construction of Jules Verne
a 191 m vessel to be used as the ship for Nautilus's deep sea copper and gold mining project, the Solwara 1 Project, located in the waters near Papua New Guinea.
David Heydon, Nautilus CEO said: "The signing of the building contract with the shipyard for "Jules Verne" is a major step forward in the delivery of the Solwara 1 Project, building on Nautilus' leading position and first mover advantage in seafloor mining. With the ship build in hand, Jan De Nul engineers, in close cooperation with Nautilus, will now focus on the award of the design and build of the special mining and pumping equipment whilst the Nautilus environmental team works on completion of the Environmental Impact Statement".
This contract follows the commencement of manufacturing for the key components of the ship which included the award of five 4500 kW main diesel engines to the MAN Diesel Group in November 2006, dynamic positioning thrusters to Wartsila Nederland B.V on 19 January 2007 and rudder propellers to SCHOTTEL-Antriebstechnik GmbH on 15 February 2007. Model testing of the vessel hull will be completed by the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) in the near future.
It is proposed that the shipyard will commence steel fabrication in November 2007 and the construction is estimated for completion third quarter 2009. As part of the contract, the shipyard will be responsible for equipping the vessel with specialist subsea mining equipment and associated handling systems necessary for the recovery of ore material from a water depth of up to 1,700 m.
With this progress on the vessel "Jules Verne" and the advancement of preliminary designs for the specialist subsea equipment, Nautilus maintains its target, subject to timely PNG government approval, to commence commissioning for mining operations at the end of 2009.