SMS RESEARCH & DISCOVERIES
In 1985 SMS and hydrothermal sulphide systems were discovered in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by the research vessel the RV Moana Wave at a site that would later become the Solwara 2 Prospect.
The late 1980s and 1990s saw numerous research projects undertaken. A summary of the academic surveys and commercial exploration campaigns in PNG, Fiji and Tonga is covered in a January 2007 Independent Technical Assessment by SRK Consulting. (click here).
PNG was the first country in the world to grant commercial exploration licenses for such SMS systems when, in 1997, Nautilus's first tenement, EL1196, was granted.
SOLWARA 'SALT WATER'
Solwara, means "salt water" in in Tok Pisin. Since 2006, Nautilus has used the term 'Solwara' to describe it's PNG exploration projects and prospects during its reconnaissance and drilling campaigns. The Solwara 1 Project and Solwara 2-11 Prospects are on 100% owned Nautilus tenements.
The Solwara 1 Field was first identified by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1996, while Solwara 4 was discovered in 1991. Extensive research campaigns between 1993 and 1997 formed the base line knowledge for what would become more intensive commercial development activities.
In March 2005, Nautilus in joint venture with Placer Dome undertook new exploration at Solwara 1 aboard the MV Genesis with side scan sonar and dredge sampling. The dredge and grab sampling confirmed the grade tenor of earlier sampling by scientific research programs. The 45 dredge samples averaged 10.8% Cu, 3.7% Zn, 224 g/t Ag and 13.7 g/t Au. A further 51 grab samples collected in 2006 by the DP Hunter survey averaged 9.3% Cu, 4.9% Zn, 136 g/t Ag and 14.7 g/t Au.
Nautilus and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution completed a further exploration cruise to Solwara 1 in August 2006 where a further 11 grab samples confirmed the grade tenor of the grab, dredge and drill core sampling referred to above.
Nautilus and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution completed an exploration cruise in July and August 2006 to the Solwara 2, 3 and 4 Projects. Geophysical surveying and Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) grab sampling were completed. The results of this work were: