Solwara-1 Sea Bed Mining

RPS modelled the fate of suspended sediments from the extraction of massive sulphide deposits on the seafloor over a 3-year extraction program.  As well as, dispersion modelling for operational discharges associated with the Production Support Vessel and an oil spill modelling study.

RPS carried out metocean data analysis, hydrodynamic modelling and sediment dispersion modelling for Nautilus’ Solwara-1 seabed mining operations in 1,500 m of water in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea.

The assessment of suspended sediment considered fugitive material resulting from several concurrent extraction operations, including: bulk cutter, auxiliary cutter, stockpiling, tip-head disposal, collection machine, return flows and surface spillage.

Contingency procedures, such as the Subsea Lift Pump emergency shut down, was also assessed.

In addition to the physical extraction processes, several operational discharges associated with the Production Support Vessel and Export Vessels were assessed to assist with regulatory approval. These included sewerage and grey water, reverse osmosis brine, ballast water exchanges, and oily water discharges.

The final assessment completed for the Solwara-1 project was a risk assessment from oil pollution events. A range of spill scenarios were assessed using stochastic oil spill modelling approach.

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