Nautilus Minerals has commenced its 2010 drilling program, with the departure of the vessel REM Etive from Singapore, bound for the company’s Solwara projects in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The 2010 drilling program will focus on improving the resource and geotechnical understanding at Solwara 1, as well as scout drilling at other prospects on the company’s 100% owned tenements in the Bismarck Sea, PNG. TSMarine will provide the vessel; operating crew, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and drilling equipment required for the project. The ROVdrill3 drilling system to be used is a second generation seafloor drilling system, with the design ability to wireline diamond drill 70 mm diameter core to a hole depth of up to 80 m.Nautilus’ CEO, Steve Rogers, commented: “The ROVdrill3 gives Nautilus the capability to further test the resource potential of our Seafloor Massive Sulphide systems in the Bismarck Sea. The drilling equipment will also collect geotechnical data that is expected to allow us to further optimise equipment design and extend the production plan at Solwara 1.”Nautilus is the first company to commercially explore the ocean floor for polymetallic seafloor massive sulphide deposits and is currently developing its first project. The Company’s main focus is the Solwara 1 Project, which is located in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean. Nautilus is listed on the TSX and AIM stock exchanges, and has among its largest shareholders two of the world’s leading international resource companies Anglo American (11.1%) and Teck Resources (6.8%), as well as Metalloinvest, one of the largest and fastest growing mining and metallurgical holding companies in Russia, which beneficially owns 21% of the Company’s issued shares through Gazmetall Holding (Cyprus) Ltd.