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Nautilus Minerals Identifies Second Potential Development Project in Bismarck Sea

Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS)(AIM:NUS) has identified a second potential development project in the Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea, to follow its groundbreaking Solwara 1 project currently in the final stages of planning.

A deepwater exploration drilling campaign carried out at the Solwara 12 prospect, just 25 kilometres northwest of Solwara 1, discovered intersections of mineralisation at all five drill sites. The drilling involved six holes drilled approximately 1900 metres below sea-level and extending to a maximum depth of 35 metres below the seafloor.

Preliminary results based on hand held X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis of drill core included:

  • a 7.33 metre intersect averaging 13.2% copper and 6.1% zinc
  • a 7.50 metre intersect averaging 9.3% copper and 6.0% zinc
  • a 5.29 metre intersect averaging 11.4% copper and 1.4% zinc

Nautilus' CEO Steve Rogers said the success of the initial drilling at Solwara 12 was a major step in the implementation of the company's strategy of developing a pipeline of projects in the Bismarck Sea.

"Previous grab-sampling has identified 16 Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) systems in the Bismarck Sea. Through the current drilling campaign, Nautilus has now brought the Solwara 12 prospect into the potential project pipeline to follow Solwara 1. This is a key step in the implementation of our business model which allows us to aggregate resources at successive locations with minimal incremental capital expenditure," he said.

Upon the completion of the initial drilling program at Solwara 12 earlier this month, the drilling vessel REM Etive has moved to Solwara 5, after which it is scheduled to return to Solwara 1 to carry out additional exploration and geotechnical drilling. Before demobilising, REM Etive will travel back to Solwara 12 to conduct follow-up drilling with the aim of establishing a resource. Solwara 12 remains open in all directions.

Assay Results for Solwara 1

In addition to the preliminary drilling results for Solwara 12, Nautilus has received certified assay results for drilling carried out at Solwara 1 earlier this year.

The results, which follow on from laboratory assays completed by laboratories of SGS Australia Pty Ltd released on January 25, 2011 continue to highlight significant mineralisation:

  • a 7.85 metre intercept averaging 10.2% copper and 3.4 g/t gold
  • a 5.48 metre intercept averaging 14.9% copper and 6.5 g/t gold
  • a 7.63 metre intercept averaging 8.9% copper and 5.3 g/t gold
  • Individual samples reported gold grades of up to 21.6 g/t and copper grades up to 24.3%

REM Etive Drilling Program

Nautilus has been drilling since mid November on board the vessel REM Etive, using the ROVdrill3 drilling system. TSMarine is providing the vessel, operating crew, Remotely Operated Vehicles and drilling equipment required for the project. The ROVdrill3 drilling system is a wireline diamond drill designed to recover up to 80 meters of 70mm diameter core.

Further details of Solwara 12

The Solwara 12 prospect is located in EL1374, 25 km northwest of Solwara 1, and was discovered by Nautilus Minerals during the Fugro Solstice exploration program in 2009. Plume hunting surveys during Phase A of the Fugro Solstice program identified several water column anomalies over the DESMOS Caldera target area. Follow-up ROV traversing across DESMOS Caldera during Phase B of the program led to the discovery of Solwara 12 on the SE rim of the caldera. Solwara 12 includes an area of inactive sulphide chimney structures approximately 180 x 170m across. Additional ROV-based geophysical surveys indicated both an electromagnetic and a self-potential anomaly within this zone.

Selection of Reported Intervals in Drilling Trials

Intervals were selected for reporting based on handheld XRF analysis or laboratory analysis of pulverised quarter-core samples returned >3% Cu, >9% Zn or >3g/t Au. Some lower-grade samples have been included within an interval if they did not reduce the overall grade of the interval to less than 3% Cu, 9% Zn or 3g/t Au. Intervals were broken where there was a length of core loss judged sufficient to lose continuity within the interval. Core loss is believed to be a grinding and loss of material similar to that which has been recovered. Zones of core loss within an interval were assigned the average grade of the recovered material either side of the core loss. Zones of core loss external to recovered material were not included in any calculated interval. All reported values within the interval are length-weighted averages of individual samples.

Qualified Person

The exploration results reported in this announcement have been compiled under the supervision of Nautilus' Resource Leader Thomas Sant. Mr Sant a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, a UK Chartered Geologist and a registered European Geologist, has over 16 years experience in mineral exploration seeking hydrothermal systems, and is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Sant has reviewed and approved the technical disclosure contained in this news release.

Source: Nautilus Minerals Inc.

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