Nautilus Trials “Jumping Spider” to Sample Seafloor
Nautilus Minerals has completed the first trial of its newly developed autonomous sediment sampler.
On landing on the seafloor, the Nautilus “Jumping Spider” a mechanical trigger starts both the suction system that delivers sediment up the tubular legs and into the sample housing. Following the release of a biodegradable sacrificial ballast weight, a deep-sea float lifts the sampler back to surface for later collection.
The spider inspired samplers have been developed to allow the exploration team to significantly increase sediment collection efficiencies from the seafloor while decreasing costs, potentially by an order of magnitude. The company plans to test the system in both Papua New Guinea and Tonga, (over ares that are greater than the land area of the United Kingdom), in the later part of 2018, subject to financing.
Nautilus has previously demonstrated the effectiveness of low cost grid sediment sampling in the highly sedimented East Manus Basin off Papua New Guinea. The challenge was to extend this technique to rocky low sedimented areas, with a further reduction in cost to allow for even more extensive sampling programs.
The system was designed and largely built in-house.
Nautilus is the first company to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor deposits. It was granted the first mining lease for such deposits at the prospect known as Solwara 1, in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea, where it is aiming to produce copper, gold and silver. Nautilus also holds highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific as well as in international waters in the Central Pacific.