Nautilus Minerals has announced the arrival of the three seafloor production tools (SPTs) at Duqm Port in Oman for the deep seabed Solwara 1 project.
The Solwara 1 joint venture (JV) comprises Nautilus with 85% and Eda Kopa (Solwara), a subsidiary of Petromin, with 15%.
The tools are set to undergo extensive wet testing at Duqm Port. The process will involve submerged testing of control systems operations and feedback, hydraulic functions, collection system functions and survey and visualisation systems.
Nautilus Minerals CEO Mike Johnston said: "The Solwara 1 joint venture partners are delighted that the SPTs have made it safely to Duqm Port.
"We look forward to commencing our wet testing programme with the support of UES and Soil Machine Dynamics (UK), and I look forward to reporting the results to our shareholders and the market in general."
Nautilus said that the Solwara 1 JV production team and representatives of Soil Machine Dynamics will undertake the wet testing programme.
United Engineering Services in Duqm Port will offer further logistics and engineering support.
The preparatory works for the programme are set to begin in April 2016 and initial testing operations are scheduled to take place soon.
The SPTs were designed and assembled in Newcastle upon Tyne by Soil Machine Dynamics and would be used by Nautilus to cut and extract high grade copper and gold from the seafloor at the Solwara 1 JV's project site in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea.
Initial seafloor production operations at the project site are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018.
The Solwara 1 project development includes the recovery of seabed sulphide deposits from the floor of the Bismarck Sea.
Image: The seafloor production tools will undergo extensive wet testing at Duqm Port. Photo: courtesy of Nautilus Minerals Inc.