25 Apr 2012

China signs up for PNG sea-floor deal with Nautilus

12:57 pm on 25 April 2012

Canada-based mining firm Nautilus Minerals says it has signed China's Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group as the first customer of its Papua New Guinea sea-floor mine.

Nautilus had agreed to buy 1.1 million metric tons of sulphides annually from its Solwara undersea mine for three years.

AFP says the project in the Manus basin of PNG's Bismarck Sea is claimed by Nautilus as the world's first commercial sea-floor mine, and is slated to begin production late next year.

Nautilus chief executive officer, Stephen Rogers, says securing a contract with Anhui-based copper giant Tongling shows the interest in the high-grade sulphides being found by the emerging sea-floor resource production industry.