Mining Site Monitoring for Nautilus Minerals

Nautilus Minerals and Tree C Technology B.V. have signed a contract for the supply by Tree C of a Mining Site Monitoring System and a Simulator for the world’s first Deep Sea Mining Production System.  

Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) will be deployed to mine the seafloor at 1600m water depth, at Nautilus Minerals’ Solwara 1 Project located in Papua New Guinea. The planned mining operation at Solwara 1 is the first of its kind, using bespoke designed equipment and a new remote control system designed specifically for the SPTs.

This deepsea mining project is a complex, dynamic submerged operation. Successful execution of the mine plan is contingent on the safe and efficient manipulation of all of the elements of the Seafloor Production System depicted in the illustration. Effective control of the SPTs is essential for the success of the project.

Nautilus will employ an Operations Manager who will take overall responsibility for coordination of the Seafloor Production System. The Operations Manager will work with the vessel master to plan the required logistics around vessel moves necessary for safe and efficient mining operations. The Tree C developed Mining Site Monitoring System will be a critical tool to assist the Operations Manager by showing a simulated but actual view of the subsea mining assets and surface support assets in real-time. The Operations Manager will direct all SPT and equipment moves based on the Monitoring System since there will be no visibility due to turbidity and lack of light at this depth. 

The simulator will facilitate the training of the operators of the three Seafloor Production Tools. Based on the actual control systems and consoles, built within a fully equipped 30’ sea container, the simulator offers a very realistic setting. Recruiting and training of operators on the simulator will greatly assist to meet the required knowledge and skill levels before mining commences, and is intended to reduce the Company’s “learning curves” as it ramps up production. Kevin Cain Vice President Projects for Nautilus Minerals says, “the simulator is another example of the innovative technology to be used by Nautilus in its first seafloor mining project. We are delighted to have a company of Tree C Technology’s experience and reputation building this exciting equipment and look forward to a lasting relationship with them.” The simulator will enable operators to use the consoles and control software that will be used during the actual operation. The virtual environment will respond and behave as close as possible to the real world conditions at this depth requiring the best of simulation technology available today in terms of physics, hydrodynamic and wire dynamics engines. Tree C holds a strong reputation in these demanding areas.

“We are delighted that we have been chosen to supply the Mining Site Monitoring System and Simulator for this significant and prestigious project,” says Gerard Weder, CEO of Netherlands based Tree C Technology B.V. “The demands of offshore equipment simulation are constantly becoming more complex. We, at Tree C, work hard to understand our customers’ requirements and by extensive research and development ensure that we are always able to offer exactly the right simulator and remote handling technology for the job at hand“

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