The Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals says new discoveries on Tonga's ocean floor strengthens its case for seabed mining in Tonga.
Nautilus Minerals has been exploring the mining potential in Tonga since 2008 and has recently found two new high-grade seafloor massive sulfide deposits, or SMS systems, containing high levels of copper, zinc, gold and silver.
The company's Exploration Manager Jonathan Lowe says this adds to the 16 SMS systems that have previously been discovered.
"We think they further support our case. And particularly the significance of the northeast Lau Basin to our exploration plans. So important, in particular, there's 28 grams per tonne of gold. That is phenomenally high. So that will bring nice credits to the project if it goes ahead. So it tells us the region's good but we don't know yet if either of those two prospects themselves will be significant."
Johnathan Lowe says Nautilus Minerals hopes to begin mining activities in Tonga in three year's time.