Nautilus Minerals is looking to sell its assets in its troubled deep-sea mining project in Papua New Guinea while it fends off creditors.


Nautilus deep-sea project faces uncertain future

Nautilus Minerals was to mine the sea floor between New Ireland and New Britain but has run into financial trouble and local landowner opposition.

On 17 June 2019, Nautilus Minerals announced that it had terminated the sales and investment solicitation process (SISP), which began at the end of February 2019, as directed by the 21 February 2019 order of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in proceedings commenced by Nautilus and one of its subsidiaries, Nautilus Minerals Pacific Australia” and, together with Nautilus, under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) (CCAA).

The Petitioners were also granted a stay of proceedings and protection from their creditors under the CCAA pursuant to the Initial Order. The Petitioners and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in its capacity as monitor of the Petitioners in their CCAA proceedings, decided to terminate the SISP based on the letters of intent received from potential bidders when it was determined that none of the offers would result in the completion of a commercially viable transaction.

Nautilus said the protection will enable it to “restructure its business and financial affairs”.

One of its lenders, Deep Sea Mining Finance, has agreed to loan it a further $US4 million. To date, Nautilus has been loaned $US18 million by the financier.

But the company is also being advertised for sale, including its Solwara 1 project in PNG. PwC are acting as solicitors.

If sold, investors would also have access to its mining licenses elsewhere in PNG and in Tonga.

*Article published in the July-September 2019 issue of The Asia Miner