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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Australasia: October 22nd 2009


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:: Nautilus' Seabed Minerals set to be Treated in Tasmania

Bass Metals Ltd said it had signed a letter of intent with Nautilus which is advancing its Solwara-1 seafloor massive sulphides (SMS) deposit off the Papua New Guinea coast.

Bass mines copper-lead-zinc-silver and gold on the West Coast of Tasmania where it has its fully owned Hellyer Mill.

Bass Metals' managing director Mike Rosenstreich says the letter of intent covers a toll treatment agreement with a subsidiary of Nautilus, yet to be specified.

The toll treat agreement will be between Hellyer Mill Operations Pty Ltd, a Bass Metals subsidiary, and a subsidiary of Nautilus to be specified.

Nautilus has delineated a seafloor mineral resource at Solwara-1 containing high grade copper and gold along with silver and zinc. This mineralisation has been shown by Nautilus to be amenable to conventional flotation concentration in a plant such as the Hellyer flotation concentrator.

The intent of the LOI is for Bass Metals to grant the Nautilus subsidiary an option to utilise 1 million tonnes per annum of processing capacity and a right for additional unused capacity in its 1.5 Mtpa Hellyer mill.

The LOI sets out a 90 day discovery period during which the two companies will complete due diligence regarding the suitability of the Hellyer mill and supporting infrastructure to process and transport the ore and the planned concentrate products. The discovery period will expire on December 31.

Rosenstreich regards this as an interesting opportunity consistent with the company's desire to fully utilise its Hellyer assets.

"There are obviously significant technical and statutory matters to address but both parties are strongly motivated to fully explore and test this toll treatment concept.




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