State of Papua New Guinea pays $113 million into escrow for Solwara 1 offshore mining project
Nautilus Minerals Inc. announced on May 9 that the Independent State of Papua New Guinea's nominee for participation in the company's Solwara 1 project has today placed US$113 million into escrow, representing the balance of the funding for the state nominee's 15 percent share of the capital required to complete the development phase of the Solwara 1 project up to first production.
On April 24, 2014, the Nautilus Minerals announced it had resolved the dispute with the state and signed an agreement with the state's nominee, Eda Kopa Limited a subsidiary of Petromin PNG Holdings Limited, enabling the project to move forward toward production.
“The fact that the state's nominee has placed the money into escrow well in advance of the 31 July deadline in the agreement further demonstrates the support the state now has for the project, as we continue to work together as partners in this new deep sea mining industry," said Nautilus chief executive officer Mike Johnston.
With the state's nominee, Eda Kopa, having paid into escrow the funds for its 15 percent interest in the project up to first production, Nautilus must now secure the charter of a production support vessel and secure for Eda Kopa, certain intellectual property rights within six months. The funds will be released to Nautilus on the satisfaction of both conditions.
The company will now focus its attention on securing a suitable vessel arrangement and is continuing its discussions with potential vessel partners, while also undertaking a tender process with shipyards experienced in building offshore construction vessels.