Nautilus Minerals is advancing its equipment-testing at the same time as financial and management shortfalls prompt worries about the firm’s longevity.
Submerged trials for Nautilus’ Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) began in Papua New Guinea during the latter part of 2017 and are now nearing completion. Trials on the Collecting Machine and Auxiliary Cutter were completed late last year, and the final machine, the Bulk Cutter, will be tested on-site in February. Nautilus reports that the SPTs operate underwater at or beyond their design specifications. Papua New Guinean locals Herman Sumun and Leslie Kewa are among the engineers evaluating the technology.
Success on the technology front comes in spite of a rough six months for the Nautilus management and balance books. In January, the series of high-level personnel changes continued with the departure of Adam Wright, Vice-President for Papua-New Guinea Operations. Mr. Wright leaves Nautilus after 3 ½ years leading in-country relations for the company’s flagship project.
The news of Wright’s departure followed one day after an announcement that Tariq Al Barwani had been appointed to the role of non-executive Chairman. Al Barwani has served on the Nautilus board since May 2016 and is a director and shareholder of MB Holding Company, Nautilus’ largest shareholder. He is also the CEO of Mawarid Mining LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of MB Holding Company.