Nautilus Minerals', the world's leader in exploration and development of deep ocean seafloor resources, is today focusing its exploration effort on its high grade polymetallic Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) resource pipeline expansion in the Western Pacific. These high grade copper, gold and zinc deposits are typically located near deep seafloor tectonic plate boundaries in back arc basins.

Exploration for seafloor massive sulphides has until recently relied on exploration techniques developed by Marine Scientific Research groups. It has involved the use of;

  • " Plume hunting?? techniques

  • Various geophysical techniques to help image prospective zones (e.g. deep tow side scan sonar, magnetics, electrical methods, etc)

  • ROV based sampling

Nautilus' entry into this industry has seen it focus on exploration technique development and improvement that has realised;

  • Improved plume hunting/water sampling techniques.

  • Electro-magnetic imaging of near-surface, copper-rich mineralisation.

  • Improved core recovery through the development of ROV based drill platforms.

The development of these new techniques culminated in the world's first NI 43 101 compliant seafloor resource statement, and the rapid discovery of numerous new seafloor massive sulphide mineralised deposits in the Western Pacific.

An opportunity exists for the seafloor resource and offshore exploration industries to further develop or adapt offshore exploration / survey techniques and accelerate the establishment of this new and predominantly untapped industry. Well-established existing techniques and technologies that can be adapted for SMS exploration include:

  • Fully Autonomous AUV's, with ultra-high resolution sonar mapping capabilities.

  • AUV based magnetic and gravity systems

  • Deep sea shallow geophysical techniques (electrical, acoustic, and other) for 3D ore body imaging and characterisation

  • Improved drilling technology including down-hole logging.

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