Nautilus contractor MAC loses shipbuilding contract

Nautilus Minerals has announced that a shipbuilding contract between contractor Marine Assets Corp (MAC) and shipyard Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding has been rescinded.

MAC and southeast China-based company Fujian Mawei’s contract is intended for the construction of a 227m long production support vessel (PSV) that can store equipment for Nautilus’s deep sea mining project Solwara 1.

The Solwara 1 project, Nautilus’ primary operational focus, is an underwater mining project utilising seafloor production tools (SPTs) for sulphide extraction in offshore Papua New Guinea. The company’s primary intent is to use these tools for the mining and recovery of copper and gold at a water depth of 1600m via umbilical slurry hoses and a riser and lifting system (RALS) that can carry material from the floor to the surface.

The shipyard gave notice of rescission due to MAC’s default on the payment of an installment of its $US18 million ($24.3 million) contract with interest to Fujian Mawei that was first announced in December last year.

Nautilus noted in a press release that discussions were continuing with the shipyard and that updates would be issued as matters develop. The delay may extend Solwara 1’s initial production date past the third quarter of 2019.