13 June 2016
Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
Prospective seabed mining company Nautilus Minerals does not have the US$200 to US$225 million it needs to complete the construction of its giant floating production support vessel. This makes the future of its proposed experimental Solwara 1 mine in Papua New Guinea look increasingly uncertain.
According to the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Shontel Norgate, quoted in an article in the Northern Miner, Solwara 1 requires a total capital expenditure of $383 million but Nautilus is short by US$200 – $225 million. This means it does not have the funds it needs to complete the construction of its support ship.
Nautilus attempted to raise US$100 million in a rights offering in April, but that was a unmitigated disaster. Only 27% of the total shares on offer were sold, raising just $28 million.
Despite its lack of capital and the failed rights issue, the company bullishly says it still hopes to begin production in PNG in the first quarter of 2018. The proposed open cast mining operation will strip away the seabed to a depth of 10 metres using three giant remotely operated machines.