Mapping and Sampling Massive Sulfide Deposits on the Seafloor

Paul Hodkiewicz and Phil Jankowski from SRK in Perth are working with Nautilus Minerals Inc. (NUS: TSX-V) as they explore the seafloor for massive sulfide gold-copper-zinc-silver deposits in the Southwestern Pacific. Nautilus now has applications and tenements in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Fiji that collectively cover an area the size of the United Kingdom.

Seafloor massive sulphide deposits (SMS) are formed where hot hydrothermal fluids rise and mix with cold sea water on the seafloor. They are the modern analog of volcanic hosted massive sulfides (VHMS) deposits such as the Iberian Pyrite Belt, Kidd Creek and Noranda in Canada, and Kuroko in Japan. Nautilus is exploring for inactive hydrothermal fields where SMS mineralisation has formed in the recent past.

SRK consultants joined three research cruises, where remote operated vehicles (ROV) and dredges were used to sample SMS deposits at the Solwara 1 and Solwara 4 projects in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea. This was a unique opportunity to observe massive sulfide deposits, intact and undeformed, on the seafloor in the original tectonic settings that are associated with volcanic rifts in backarc basins. These observations have enhanced our understanding of SMS deposit types and are directly applicable to terrestrial base-metal exploration and evaluation.

The Solwara 1 project comprises two outcrops of high grade sulfide mineralisation, 900m and 400m long with widths varying from 80m to 200m. Production is planned to commence in 2009.

Paul and Phil completed the NI43-101 and AIM Technical Reports describing the geology, sampling, assaying, and exploration programs.

Phil Jankowski:
Paul Hodkiewicz


You can download a PDF of the entire
Focus on Geology newsletter 

PDF Letter



Our newsletters focus on specific areas of interest to earth resource professionals and clients. Each is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. If you don't already have Adobe's PDF reader, you can download it free.

SRK United Kingdom