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Deepwater Seafloor Resource Production: Development of the World’s Next Offshore Frontier

[+] Author Affiliations
Glen Smith

Nautilus Minerals, Inc., Queensland, Australia

Paper No. OMAE2010-20350, pp. 103-115; 13 pages
  • ASME 2010 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering: Volume 3
  • Shanghai, China, June 6–11, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4911-8 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3873-0
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


A new seafloor resource industry is today focused on the exploration and recovery of high-grade copper and gold in seafloor massive-sulphide (SMS) mineralization. Work is in progress to commercially develop the first such deposit (Solwara 1) in 1,600 meters water depth in the benign Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea. Environmental, geological and engineering studies conducted to date have culminated in a number of world firsts, including the first Environmental Permit granted for the extraction of SMS deposits and the first NI 43-101 compliant SMS deposit resource statement. Design of the mining system has been based on proven deepwater technologies from the oil and gas industry. Pipeline trenching units, ROVs, deepwater production risers and drill cuttings removal systems will be adapted to initiate this new and exciting industry.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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