Nautilus Minerals has formed a strategic partnership with German shipping company Harren & Partner to form a joint venture company for its seafloor resource production.

The new company Vessel JV will own and operate a production support vessel, which will help Nautilus to produce high-grade copper and gold ore at its Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea.

Under the partnership, Harren will design and construct the vessel at a cost of about €127m ($167m) and will sell it to Vessel JV.

Vessel JV will hire the vessel to the joint mining venture Mining JV, in which Nautilus holds a 70% stake and Petromin holds a 30% stake, to carry out its seafloor production operations for a period of eight years.

The vessel is a floating platform which will be used for the mobilisation and remote operation of production machinery operating on the seafloor at water depths of about 1600m.