Nautilus Minerals Inc.

Nautilus Minerals Inc.

November 04, 2009 09:01 ET

Nautilus Discovers Two New High Grade SMS Systems in the Bismarck Sea

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 4, 2009) - Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS)(AIM:NUS) (the "Company" or "Nautilus") is pleased to announce the discovery of Solwara 12 and Solwara 13, two new Seafloor Massive Sulphide ("SMS") systems on its wholly owned exploration licences in Papua New Guinea ("PNG"). Discovered during the first five days of Nautilus' 2009 target testing campaign, Solwara 12 returned handheld x-ray fluorescence ("XRF") results up to a maximum of 23.4% copper ("Cu") and 36% zinc ("Zn") from 10 chimney samples collected from the new site. Solwara 13, discovered only four days later, returned XRF results from seven chimney samples up to a maximum of 19.3% Cu and 38.5% Zn.

The 42 days of target generation work conducted earlier this year from MV Fugro Solstice yielded a large number of SMS exploration targets. Due to this success and the high conversion in turning generated targets into new SMS discoveries, Nautilus has exercised an option for an additional 28 days of vessel time. The extra time will allow Nautilus to extend its target testing campaign to investigate other high ranking targets.

Stephen Rogers, Nautilus' CEO commented: "Nautilus is fast-tracking the exploration and discovery of SMS systems to build an inventory for future drilling and appraisal. This early double success in the MV Fugro Solstice target testing program confirms the prospectivity of Nautilus' Bismarck Sea tenements and our ability to quickly discover new SMS systems."

Target testing commenced in the Bismarck Sea on 20 October 2009. On 24 October 2009, Nautilus discovered Solwara 12 during a remotely operated vehicle ("ROV") dive, on the second target tested. An area containing inactive sulphide chimneys (up to 12 metres high) was mapped using the ROV. Nautilus recovered 12 grab samples comprising 10 sulphide samples and two volcanic samples. Figure 1 illustrates the location of the Solwara 12 and 13 discoveries.

Figure 1:
Figure 2:
Figure 3:

Figure 2 illustrates the distribution of 10 sulphide chimney samples from Solwara 12, near the apex of a knoll (more than 120 metres high), located on the southeastern edge of the DESMOS Caldera, in the eastern Manus Basin. The knoll extends significantly beyond the observed outcrop of Solwara 12, along two sediment covered ridges: one trending north and the other trending west. The extent of mineralisation beneath the sediment is unknown and mineralisation as observed to date is open in several directions, particularly to the west and north.

On 28 October 2009, Nautilus discovered Solwara 13. Nautilus recovered seven grab samples comprising massive sulphides from the centre of Solwara 13; plus two scoop samples from the softer outer edges of the mineralised system where iron manganese ("Fe-Mn") oxides dominate.

Figure 3 illustrates the distribution of seven sulphide chimney samples from Solwara 13 which occurs at the southwest end of the Yuam Ridge, in the eastern Manus Basin.

Table 1 – Solwara 12 XRF *Analysis Results of Sulphide Samples

   XRF (avg %¹)       
CuZnPbEasting2Northing2Depth2    Lithology
2256147000.436.04.33758179590023-1876  Massive Sulphide
2256249000.523.20.73758569590023-1866  Massive Sulphide
2256455000.418.80.63758709589991-1910  Massive Sulphide
22565390015.62.0 less than LOD3758499590083-1922  Massive Sulphide
2256652001.030.61.43758889590088-1907  Massive Sulphide
2256855000.727.01.53759159590092-1899  Massive Sulphide
2256937000.619.45.23759499590085-1887  Massive Sulphide
22570730012.614.70.13758529590082-1923  Massive Sulphide
22571450023.410.51.33758779590024-1901  Massive Sulphide
2257352001.219.17.63759619590118-1905  Massive Sulphide
 Minimum0.42.0 less than LOD    
1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF*.   
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 56 south using a WGS 1984 datum  
3. less than LOD = below detection limit      

Table 2 – Solwara 13 XRF *Analysis Results of Sulphide Samples

   XRF (avg %¹)       
CuZnPbEasting2Northing2Depth2    Lithology
22574260013.212.00.33607419587443-2006  Massive Sulphide
2257638000.738.53.93607409587427-2002  Massive Sulphide
2257765000.532.11.03607669587467-2004  Massive Sulphide
22578365019.3 3.60.13607509587449-2005  Massive Sulphide
225796700 0.425.26.03607769587466-2006  Massive Sulphide
22581160010.311.90.23607579587438-2001  Massive Sulphide
2258260005.821.51.43607599587433-1997  Massive Sulphide
1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF*.   
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 56 south using a WGS 1984 datum  

Target Testing Procedure

Sulphide mineralisation at Solwara 12 and Solwara 13 was observed using the ROV during target testing traverses. The planned traverses are generally a series of parallel lines, nominally 200 or 300 metres apart. When chimney structures are located, using a combination of video and sonar apparatus, that area is mapped in greater detail with the ROV.

No equipment capable of mapping any mineralisation beneath the seafloor is currently fitted to the ROV.

Sampling Procedure

Grab samples were collected from the seafloor using a manipulator arm mounted on the ROV. Chimney samples averaging 37 kg (from 5 kg to 70 kg) were collected using the ROV manipulator arm, and placed in a separate sample cage for recovery to the ship. They were then processed on board. Sample selections targeted material exposed at the seafloor surface, across different parts of Solwara 12 and 13. Sub-samples from the chimneys averaging 4.8 kg (from 1.6 kg to 7.3 kg), were taken from each of the chimney samples using a pneumatic jack hammer, generally representing a cross section of the chimney at the base of the chimney. The remaining portions of each sample were retained for reference purposes.

Small volcanic samples (1.4 kg to 6.2 kg) were collected using the ROV manipulator arm and placed in the sample box attached to the ROV. Scoop samples (1.4 kg to 2.0 kg) were also taken using the ROV manipulator arm, by scooping the outside of the softer oxide-bearing chimney structures, with a small (approximately 1 litre) metal container. Once the scoop sample is taken, a second manipulator arm releases a tie, to secure the lid on the scoop container. The scoop is then placed in the sample box on the ROV. XRF readings for Cu, Zn and lead ("Pb"), on the Fe-Mn oxide bearing scoop samples were below the detection limit for the XRF machine and are therefore not reported herein.

Equipment Spread

The mapping work described herein was completed using a Fugro FV300 series ROV. The ROV is equipped with sensors used to map the seafloor. These include: various video cameras and two magnetometers provided by Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. In addition, high-resolution mapping sonars housed on the ROV are being successfully used for the first time to identify real-time seafloor features ahead and to the sides of the ROV beyond the range of the video camera systems used previously.

For seafloor sampling purposes, the ROV is equipped with two manipulator arms and a custom-built sample tray, or "geobox", for storing up to 10 hand-sized grab samples or scoop samples. Larger samples are stowed and recovered using a custom built array of salvage bins.

* Note on results of indicative analyses from hand-held XRF, Niton XLT 592KW instrument

A hand-held XRF instrument (Niton XLT 592) was used to obtain indications of the metal grades of materials recovered from the seafloor. The instrument does not provide the accuracy required to report assays. The instrument is not calibrated using certified reference standards and the samples have not been crushed and prepared to minimise matrix effects, which may affect the accuracy of the analyses. However, a suite of eight standard reference samples were analysed for Cu, Zn, Pb and Fe prior to use on the MV Fugro Solstice 2009 cruise. These results, together with past comparisons between the XRF analyses and assay results for similar samples, indicate the XRF tool is a reliable method for providing indicative results of the tenor of mineralisation, and provides valuable data for "real-time" decisions to be made.

Measurements by the hand-held XRF are not assay results and do not measure gold ("Au") or silver ("Ag"). Samples will be formally assayed by an ALS Group laboratory in Queensland, Australia.

Qualified Person

The exploration results reported in this announcement have been compiled under the supervision of Michael Johnston, Vice President Strategic Development of Nautilus. Mr Johnston is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, has over 25 years experience in mining and exploration geology, and is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. He consents to his name being used in this release.

About Nautilus Minerals Inc.

Nautilus is the first company to commercially explore the ocean floor for gold and copper seafloor massive sulphide deposits and is currently developing its first project. The Company's main focus is the Solwara 1 Project, which is located in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean. Nautilus is listed on the TSX and on AIM, and has among its largest shareholders two of the world's leading international resource companies, Anglo American (11.1%) and Teck Resources (6.8%). Metalloinvest, one of the largest and fastest growing mining and metallurgical holding companies in Russia, beneficially owns 21.0% of its shares through Gazmetall Holding (Cypress) Limited.

Neither the TSX nor the London Stock Exchange accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

Contact Information

  • Nautilus Minerals Inc. (Toronto)
    Investor Relations
    +1 (416) 551 1100
    Nautilus Minerals Inc.
    Australian Project Office
    +61 (7) 3318 5555
    Numis Securities Limited
    John Harrison
    Nominated adviser
    + 44(0) 20 7260 1000
    Numis Securities Limited
    James Black
    Corporate broking
    + 44(0) 20 7260 1000