Nautilus Minerals has completed the first trial of its newly-developed autonomous sediment sampler.
The insect-inspired creation is dubbed the “Nautilus Jumping Spider” and resembling its animal namesake, it sports a number of “tubular” legs.
On landing on the seafloor, a mechanical trigger starts both the suction system that delivers sediment up the tubular legs and into the sample housing. Following the release of a biodegradable sacrificial ballast weight, a deep-sea float lifts the sampler back to surface for later collection.
The spider-inspired samplers have been developed to allow the exploration team to increase sediment collection efficiencies from the seafloor while decreasing costs, potentially by an order of magnitude.
The company said it plans to test its extensive land positions in both Papua New Guinea and Tonga, (which total an area larger than the land area of the United Kingdom), in the later part of 2018, subject to financing.
Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO said, “The innovation of the exploration team in developing this simple yet very user friendly sediment sampler must be commended. Over the years, Nautilus and its technology partners have developed a number of low cost tools, to assist with its exploration and development efforts (ROV drills, self potential and electromagnetic subsea geophysical systems, and various water column and seafloor geochemical sampling systems). 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.”