Nautilus Launches Spider-Inspired Samplers for Deepsea Mining

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Nautilus Minerals is a very familiar name to any professional within the mining industry, the Canadian company is a pioneer of the sector, from experimenting with megaships for deepwater seabed mining to being the first organisation to ever explore the seabed for massive sulphide systems commercially. Overall, Nautilus is near-synonymous with progressive innovation and are taking the first steps in many directions of the mining industry.

The latest news from Nautilus is the unveiling of a new sediment sampler which takes its inspiration from spiders. The Nautilus Jumping Spider (NJS) will be used for sampling deep-sea deposits and aims to increase existing sediment collection efficiencies. At the same time, the device is expected to reduce costs by an order of magnitude. Currently, Nautius has only just concluded the primary testing stage for NJSs.

Upon landing on the seafloor a mechanical trigger inside the NJSs starts up a suction system to gather sediment and deliver it via tubes into the sample housing. After this, a ballast weight is released and a deep-sea float raises the sampler back up to the surface for collection. The NJSs also feature transponders to help with location, a fail-safe release and a self-priming design of the suction/sampling system.

The next stage involves further testing in Papua New Guinea and Tonga, which are both areas that Nautius operates in and has extensive knowledge of.

CEO of Nautilus, Mike Johnston, says, “Development of the new autonomous sampling tools continues to demonstrate the company’s commitment to industry leading innovation. Along with other exploration techniques, including seabed drilling, the team is looking to build a pipeline of projects and resources to feed our mobile mining system currently under construction.”

Dashboard sees great potential in Nautilus’ NJSs. Looking at the existing track record of the company, they are responsible for many important discoveries that have propelled the mining industry forward. Their success rate as well as consistency in bringing forth the most innovative solutions leads Dashboard to believe the spider is a necessary addition to this industry; it also showcases how the mining sector, which is often slow in adopting to new policies and practices, is slowly welcoming technology to a wider extent.

Author: Nadja Kaukiainen

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