MAC/20: Mines and Communities

In bed with Placer

Published by MAC on 2005-11-29


In bed with Placer

29th November 2005

Six months ago we warned on this site that seabed mining for massive sulphides (SMS) was advancing apace, with a potential threat to coastal communities that few people saw as a threat (http://www.minesandcommunities.org/Action/press649.htm).

Now the company which initiated this "new frontier" has won an award at the recent Mining Journal World Congress, for its "pioneering" work - which Placer is also funding.


Minerals Group Wins Pioneering Award

News Release by Nautilus Founder Julian Malnic

29th November 2005

Category: Pioneering Award – For the company that has shown the greatest originality in the search for minerals.

Winner: Nautilus Minerals Group - for exploration and research work that promises to open an entirely new frontier for commercial mineral development. The Nautilus team has brought undersea mineral exploration to international attention and, in particular, the mineral potential of the Manus Basin offshore Papua New Guinea. Nautilus Minerals was selected from a list of seven companies cited for pioneering achievement which included major corporations.

Nautilus Founder Julian Malnic said the Award recognises a historic step in mining.

The Nautilus project was conceived in 1993 on the back of CSIRO work, and received global recognition in November 1997 when the PNG Government granted it the world- first licences for the exploration for seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits. These deposits are the forerunners of the major 'fossil' base metal systems such as the great ore bodies of Broken Hill in Australia and Kidd Creek in Canada. He said SMS exploration is likely to transform the outlook for the supply of copper, zinc and other metals in the coming years. The seafloor is a low-cost source of metals – just as it is for oil and gas.

Earlier this year Placer Dome completed a US$3 million geophysical program in the Manus Basin designed to locate older, hydrothermally-inactive fields. The program was the world’s first to locate SMS deposits on the seafloor geophysically. The weighted average grade of the Suzette field which was also dredge sampled by Placer during the cruise is 13.7 g/t gold, 10.8% copper, 3.65% zinc and 220 g/t silver (Nautilus calculation).

Nautilus was also nominated with BHP [sic], Xstrata, and Rio Tinto for the 'Deal of the Year' for negotiating a farm-in Agreement with Placer Dome where Placer has committed to spend US$7million by April 2006 to earn a 40% interest in Nautilus's gold-rich seafloor projects. Nautilus retains 100% of the base metal project areas with less than 3g/t gold. Placer will spend a minimum of US$4 million on core drilling by April 2006. The drill ship is expected on station in Papua New Guinea in the first week of January. Nautilus Minerals Inc. is a private company with its sights set on a public listing in early 2006.

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