Nautilus Minerals has existing exploration tenements in Tonga. These tenements are located in the Northwest Lau Spreading Centre, the Niuafo’ ou Spreading Centre and the Central Lau Spreading Centre. Nautilus has carried out a number of exploration cruises in order to identify potential seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits at hydrothermal sites associated with these spreading centres. The existing targets are located at an average water depth of 2,100m, in areas of active and inactive hydrothermal venting.
Nautilus is currently in the process of planning additional exploration studies to further define existing targets using both AUV and ROV technology. Environmental sampling is also undertaken during exploration cruises, and information has been gathered to date in relation to water quality, water column geochemistry and video camera footage.