MARINE Assets Corporation (MAC) is moving forward with construction of a production support vessel (PSV) to be used by Nautilus Minerals and PNG partner, Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd, for seafloor operations at the Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea. The 227 metre-long vessel is being built at Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding in China.

The steel cutting ceremony for the PSV was held in September 2015 and with the installation of the bow block, made up of three separate blocks weighing 480 tonnes in total, the main hull section nears completion. When construction is completed in the first quarter of 2018, the vessel is scheduled to go on a five-year charter with Nautilus.

Meantime, Nautilus has signed a subscription agreement with Mawarid Offshore Mining and Metalloinvest Holding (Cyprus who have agreed to purchase shares of the company valued at up to US$20 million.

Nautilus’ CEO Mike Johnston said, “The company appreciates the ongoing support of its two major shareholders through this bridge financing arrangement, especially given current market conditions. We are also heartened by the continued support of all of key stakeholders, in particular, our JV partner in the project, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea’s nominee and our vessel contractors, Marine Assets Corporation and Fujian Mawei shipyard. The global interest in seafloor mining continues to grow and Nautilus remains the industry leader in this expanding field.”

The company requires significant additional funding to complete the build and deployment of the seafloor production system to be utilised at the Solwara 1 project by the company and JV partner (as to 15%), Eda Kopa (Solwara) Ltd.

The gross proceeds available under the subscription agreement will provide the bridge financing necessary to enable Nautilus to operate and to carry on the project while it continues to explore additional financing, joint ventures or other transactions that provide the funding required to complete development of Solwara 1.

The company will determine the amount of funds to be raised under each tranche during each month of the financing period, subject to the limitations of receiving maximum subscription proceeds of US$2 million per month and an aggregate maximum total amount of US$20 million during the entire period.

For the purposes of the additional funding required and in order to continue operating during the financing period, Nautilus will implement a restructuring plan.

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