NUKUALOFA, Tonga, Mar 31, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) – Canadian deep sea mining company Nautilus Minerals has begun the first stage of its mineral exploration for high-grade minerals in Tongan waters, Matangi Tonga reports.
Nautilus country manager, Paula Taumoepeau said an exploration ship, Kilo Moana from the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology of the University of Hawaii had arrived to conduct surveys.
Mr Taumoepeau said the first phase would involve the mapping and surveying of the seafloor, environmental monitoring, oceanographic work and water quality studies of the specific areas that they are exploring.
The exploration is being held in the seabed area known as the Lau Basin, which is about 100 kilometres from Nuku’alofa at the depth of about 2,000 metres.
Exploration surveys will end next month and data will be taken for analysis any decision is made on mining the minerals.
Because we have only an exploration licence we cannot do any mining at this stage, so as an explorer we gather data and information, by conducting different types of surveys and studies, he said.
Nautilus Minerals Inc is a Canadian registered company that was issued a licence to explore for minerals in Tonga in December last year.