2007 NAUTILUS EXPLORATION PROGRAM
The majority of work in 2007 was undertaken in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea (PNG) located to the north of Australia.
In March 2007, Nautilus launched the world's largest commercial exploration program for high-grade SMS systems. This program involved technical input from representatives seconded to Nautilus from Teck Resources and included extensive environmental studies, resource definition drilling, sampling and related metallurgical and production development studies on Solwara 1.
The program was executed with a budget of approximately US$23 million with zero lost time safety incidents. Canyon Offshore Inc. (Canyon) were the lead contractor for the Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and other deck equipment. The Nautilus chartered vessel was MV Wave Mercury (March 21, 2007).
APPLYING NEW TECHNOLOGIES
During 2007 Nautilus continued to refine and develop its SMS exploration strategy, related techniques and tools for this new industry.
Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Drill
A major 111-hole core drilling program was undertaken using new "state of the art" ROV mounted drill rigs that were deployed on the seafloor. The ROV drill is capable of drilling up to 19 metres into the seafloor.
Deep Ocean Electromagnetic Exploration
Nautilus partnered with Teck Resources and the Vancouver-based Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. to develop, deploy and test a new deep-ocean Electromagnetic (EM) technology. With this EM technique in the exploration toolbox, Nautilus will be able to better target future drilling, allowing Nautilus to test future systems more rapidly and cost effectively.
DISCOVERY OF SOLWARA 5,6,7 and 8
During the 30-day Greenfield exploration program Nautilus identified four new prospects, Solwara 5,6,7,8. The assay results and techniques are discussed in the June 20, 2007 and July 11, 2007 announcements.Highlights of the sample assays are shown below.
2Results current as of July 11, 2007
WORLD'S FIRST 43-101 RESOURCE STATEMENT
A successful exploration year culminated in Nautilus releasing the world's first NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate for a portion of Solwara 1. Results were as follows (December 20, 2007):
The resource estimate was completed by Golder Associates Pty Ltd.
The area drilled in 2007 was constrained by the time available for drilling as a result of the vessel contract term. The depth limitation of the ROV drill unit meant that over 40% of the drill holes ended in high grade mineralisation. This part of the system therefore remains open at depth. As a result, it was not possible to pursue the western extensions of the system, nor test a number of interesting EM anomalies in the vicinity.