Tonga Community

Nautilus Minerals established a presence in Tonga at the end of 2007, following the granting of 16 Prospecting Licenses by the Government of Tonga. A granted Prospecting License (PL) provides the right to explore for mineral deposits; it does not give the right to mine.

Nautilus Minerals is in the very early stages of exploration in Tonga. A significant body of work over several years must be completed before Nautilus Minerals could propose a mining project. The objective of our exploration work is to determine if there is a commercially viable resource in Tongan waters. Even then, a project can only go ahead if it is socially acceptable and if it can be done in an environmentally responsible manner. 

In 2008, Nautilus Minerals first explored in Tongan waters about 100-150 kilometres from Nuku’alofa, situated near the Lau Basin. During this exploration campaign, Nautilus Minerals gathered important data by conducting bathymetric, oceanographic, environmental, geological surveys and studies – all of which are low-impact activities. Without Nautilus Minerals, these studies which help outline the mineral endowment of Tonga would not occur. All of the data collected was submitted to the Government of Tonga as part of our PL requirements.

A development project has the potential to benefit Tonga greatly in several areas, including: 

  • Developing a new export sector based on an unutilized resource; 
  • Creating new direct and indirect employment; 
  • Developing local support businesses; and 
  • Transferring skills and technology from world leaders in offshore engineering to environmental science.