SPT Robot: Seafloor Production Tools Robot
Nautilus Minerals is utilising proven technologies from the offshore oil and gas industries, dredging and onshore mining industries to realise the new deep seafloor resource production industry. The result is a system which has three main components: the Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs) the Riser and Lifting System (RALS) and the Production Support Vessel (PSV). Rock is disaggregated on the seafloor by the AC and the BC. They excavate material by a continuous cutting process, not unlike coal or other bulk continuous mining machines on land. The AC is a preparatory machine that deals with rough terrain and creates benches for the other machines to work. It will operate on tracks with spud assistance and has a boom mounted cutting head for flexibility. The second machine, the BC, has higher cutting capacity but will be limited to working benches created by the AC. Both machines leave cut material on the seafloor for collection by the CM. The CM, also a large robotic vehicle, will collect the cut material (sand, gravel, silt) by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the Riser and Lifting System. The SPT design is an extension of existing subsea trenching equipment combining hard rock mining technology with that of subsea remote system technology. The SPTs will be deployed from the Production Support Vessel (PSV) using a lifting frame and operated via a power and control umbilical.
- Country: Canada
- Company: Nautilus Minerals