Nautilus commences wet testing program for its new seafloor diamond drill rig

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

TORONTO, June 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS) (OTC:NUSMF) (Nasdaq Intl Designation) (the "Company" or "Nautilus") announces that is has commenced wet testing of its new seafloor diamond drill rig, which the Company has developed to relieve the drilling requirements of its future exploration programs.

Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO commented, “According to our recently released Preliminary Economic Assessment for Solwara 1, a single quarter's production at steady state mining rates (~3,200t/d) and at average Solwara deposit grades, adds around US$110 million in 1EBITDA**. Hence forward exploration is a pivotal part of our business. Our pioneering teams are overcoming traditional functional limitations and high fees in seafloor drilling, with our new “Hobbit” scout rig.”

The scope of the testing is to check the operational functionality of the drill rig’s control systems, landing capability, hydraulic functions, video survey systems, and drilling cycle time/performance, in a submerged environment. The testing will also look at the system’s ability to sustain simulated offshore operations at optimal productivity levels while familiarising personnel with all aspects of the equipment and operations, in a reduced cost environment.

The Nautilus developed rig, nick-named the “Hobbit” scout rig (Figure 1), has so far successfully met design targets in a series of land-based trials, largely focused on rod handling, functional drilling, and landing stability tests. This wet test program will occur over a two week period, and will expand the testing parameters to include submerged operations and mechanical endurance.

The rig design utilises Nautilus’ industry leading seafloor drilling experience to produce a rig that has improved landing and drill cycle capabilities, combined with simplified control systems, umbilical, and launch and recovery requirements that will allow deployment from cheaper vessels resulting in significant reductions to drilling costs. Importantly, the improved rig capabilities are also expected to translate into improved access to sites through the rig's greater stability and smaller footprint, relative to systems available in the current commercial market. The company looks forward to reporting the results of this system.

Nautilus will then look to deploy the rig on its South Pacific tenements on successful completion of the trials, subject to raising further funding.

All scientific or technical information contained in this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mike Johnston, the President and CEO of the Company who is a "Qualified Person" within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101.

1 see table 22.3 page 231 of the PEA in links section. Steady state production is achieved during Q4, 2020 to Q2 2021, where EBITDA averages US$112.9 per quarter

** EBITDA - net income with interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization added back to it


Figure one - drill rig.jpg

For more information please refer to or contact:

Investor Relations
Nautilus Minerals Inc. (Toronto)
Tel: +1 416 551 1100

The TSX does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

Certain of the statements made in this news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements with respect to the development of the Solwara 1 Project, plans to cost effectively build a pipeline of resources, the PEA, and the operation of the Company's exploration tools including the "Hobbit" drill rig. We have made numerous assumptions about such statements, including  assumptions  relating  to  the Company’s funding requirements, project funding, and completion  and  operation of the Company's  seafloor  production  system and exploration tools. Even though our management believes the assumptions made and the expectations represented by such statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Forward-looking  information  by  its  nature  involves  known  and  unknown  risks,  uncertainties  and  other  factors which may cause the actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking  information.  Please  refer  to  our  most  recently  filed  Annual  Information Form in respect of material assumptions and risks related to the prospects of extracting minerals from the seafloor and other risks relating  to  the  Company's  business  and  plans  for  development  of  the Solwara 1  Project.  Risks related to continuing the Company's operations and advancing the development of the Solwara 1 Project include the risk that the Company will be unable to obtain at all or on acceptable terms, and within the timeframes required, the remaining financings necessary to fund completion of the build, testing and deployment of the Company's seafloor production system; that the Company will be unable to rectify or arrange for the rectification of the default under the shipbuilding contract for the construction of the production support vessel; that agreements with third party contractors for building slots within certain timeframes are not secured as required; the risk that the Company's seafloor equipment and exploration tools, including the "Hobbit” scout rig, will not operate as expected; and the risk that the Company will be unsuccessful in delineating new mineral resources through future exploration activities. As the Company has not completed a prefeasibility study or feasibility study in respect of the Solwara 1 Project, there can be no assurance that the Company's production plans will, if fully funded and implemented, successfully demonstrate that seafloor resource production is commercially viable. Except as required by law, we do not expect to update forward-looking statements and  information as conditions change and you are referred to the full discussion of the  Company's business contained in the Company's reports filed with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada.

About Nautilus Minerals Inc.

Nautilus is the first company to explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits. Nautilus 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. The Company has also been granted its environmental permit for this site.

Nautilus also holds highly prospective exploration acreage in the western Pacific (granted and under application), as well as in international waters in the Central Pacific.

A Canadian registered company, Nautilus is listed on the TSX:NUS stock exchange and is also a member of the Nasdaq International Designation program. Its corporate office is in Brisbane, Australia. Its major shareholders include MB Holding Company LLC, an Oman based group with interests in mining, oil & gas, which holds a 30.4% interest and Metalloinvest, the largest iron ore producer in Europe and the CIS, which has a 19.2% holding (each on a non-diluted basis, excluding loan shares outstanding under the Company’s share loan plan).