Nautilus Minerals Inc. is pleased to announce the discovery of five high grade Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) systems, designated Solwara 12, 13, 14, 16, and 18, during its 2009 exploration campaign. Copper grades up to 32.4% and zinc grades up to 52.6% were reported from grab samples collected from these discoveries using a hand held x-ray fluorescence (XRF) meter. Final assays on samples collected from Solwara 12 and 13, have also been received, and indicate gold up to 39.7 g/t and silver up to 682 g/t. Additionally, the company has made a further high grade discovery at Solwara 11 (11i) in the Western Bismarck Sea.

Stephen Rogers, Nautilus' CEO, commented: Further success in the Bismarck Sea, PNG, combined with good assay results clearly highlights this region as a significant SMS domain. Our work is now focussed on the evaluation and ranking of the new systems in preparation for an intensive drilling campaign in 2010.

The exploration vessel MV Fugro Solstice was successfully demobilised in Singapore on 12 January 2010 after completing a 132 day program of water geochemistry studies, geophysics, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) mapping and ROV sampling. A total of 18 SMS systems have now been defined within the Bismarck Sea, along with numerous zones of hot water venting, smaller chimney fields, and barite-rich zones.

Final assay results, including gold (Au) and silver (Ag), on samples collected from Solwara 12 and 13, which were previously reported on 4 November 2009 (http://www.nautilusminerals.com/s/Media-NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=370349) indicate high precious metal grades, which is consistent with other SMS systems in the Bismarck Sea. Assays up to a maximum of 39.70 g/t Au and 682 g/t Ag were recorded from the 10 sulphide samples collected at Solwara 12, and a maximum of 9.23 g/t Au and 1,550 g/t Ag were recorded from the seven samples collected at Solwara 13.

A further two lower grade systems (Solwara 17 and 19) were also discovered in the Bismarck Sea and one new system (Solwara 15) where samples were not taken due to an ROV breakdown. All three systems will require further investigation. Nautilus considers the presence of hydrothermal mineralisation and alteration at these sites encouraging, especially given that the two lower grade systems occur in the older part of the Bismarck Sea. Additional exploration work is planned to test this potential.

Links:

Figure 1: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure1_DiscoveryLocationMap.pdf

Figure 2: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure2_Solwara12SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 3: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure3_Solwara13SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 4: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure4_Solwara14SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 5: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure5_Solwara15SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 6: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure6_Solwara16SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 7: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure7_Solwara17SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 8: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure8_Solwara18SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 9: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure9_Solwara19SMSsystem.pdf

Figure 10: www.nautilusminerals.com/i/misc/Figure10_Solwara11iSMSsystem.pdf

Figure 1 shows the location of SMS discoveries within the Bismarck Sea, as of 30 December 2009.

Solwara 12 and 13:

Solwara 12 and 13 systems occur in the eastern Manus Basin, approximately 40 to 60km NNW of Solwara 1 (Figure 1). Preliminary XRF results were reported previously. Final assay results are shown in Tables 1 and 2 below, and highlight the high grade of the samples, particularly with regard to precious metals.

Table 1: Solwara 12 Final Assay Results (sulphide samples only)

-----------------------------
Solwara12 Final assay result
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sam- Sam- Wei- Au Ag East- North- Dep-
ple ple ght Cu Zn Pb (g/ (g/ ing ing th Lith-
No Type (g) (pct) (pct) (pct) t) t) (2) (2) (2) ology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22561 CHIM- 4700 0.height=11/width=1width=1/width=1width=1width=1width=1width=1width=1width=1006 52.000 3.150height=11 less 451 375817 9590023 -1876 Mass-
NEY- than ive
ROV 0.01 Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22562 CHIM- 4900 0.101 22.900 2.290 0.63 538 375856 9590023 -1866 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22564 CHIM- 5500 0.044 20.900 0.890 0.01 186 375870 9589991 -1910 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22565 CHIM- 3900 21.800 3.420 0.095 16.20 313 375849 9590083 -1922 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22566 CHIM- 5200 0.530 30.200 2.520 12.05 453 375888 9590088 -1907 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22568 CHIM- 5500 0.512 36.100 2.430 39.70 458 375915 9590092 -1899 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22569 CHIM- 3700 0.257 17.350 10.400 24.80 682 375949 9590085 -1887 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22570 CHIM- 7300 13.400 14.500 0.222 3.70 271 375852 9590082 -1923 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22571 CHIM- 4500 32.400 9.900 0.730 5.65 292 375877 9590024 -1901 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22573 CHIM- 5200 0.932 18.900 12.700 34.20 601 375961 9590118 -1905 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulp-
hide
---------------------------------------
Minimum 0.006 3.420 0.095 less 186
than
0.01
---------------------------------------
Maximum 32.400 52.000 12.700 39.70 682
---------------------------------------
Average 6.998 22.617 3.543 13.69 425
---------------------------------------

1. Results received from ALS Laboratory
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 56 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than 0.01 = below detection limit

Table 2: Solwara 13 Final Assay Results (sulphide samples only)

-----------------------------
Solwara13 Final assay result
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sam- Sam- Wei- Au Ag East- North- Dep-
ple ple ght Cu Zn Pb (g/ (g/ ing ing th Lith-
No Type (g) (pct) (pct) (pct) t) t) (2) (2) (2) ology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22574 CHIM- 2600 16.450 13.900 0.424 4.35 140 360741 9587443 -2006 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22576 CHIM- 3800 0.409 43.900 8.280 1.34 987 360740 9587427 -2002 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22577 CHIM- 6500 0.254 52.600 0.897 7.27 631 360766 9587467 -2004 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22578 CHIM- 3650 28.000 7.580 0.211 9.23 105 360750 9587449 -2005 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22579 CHIM- 6700 0.131 43.400 11.450 0.03 1550 360776 9587466 -2006 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22581 CHIM- 1600 13.250 23.700 0.810 6.72 170 360757 9587438 -2001 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22582 CHIM- 6000 5.460 30.000 0.794 4.10 241 360759 9587433 -1997 Mass-
NEY- ive
ROV Sulph-
ide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.131 7.580 0.211 0.03 105
---------------------------------------
Maximum 28.000 52.600 11.450 9.23 1550
---------------------------------------
Average 9.136 30.726 3.267 4.72 546
---------------------------------------

1. Results received from ALS Laboratory
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 56 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than 0.01 = below detection limit

Solwara 14:

Solwara 14 occurs approximately 2km SSW of Solwara 10 on the central Manus Spreading Centre (Figure 1). The system comprises two sub-parallel NE trending lenses of strong sulphide development, each slightly more than 150 metres in strike (Figure 4). A total of 14 sulphide samples were collected from the two systems, with maximum XRF results of 17.7% Cu and 41.5% Zn (Refer to Table 3).

Table 3: Solwara 14 XRF Analysis Results (sulphide samples)

----------------
Solwara14 XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22583 CHIMNEY- 1000 2.4 14.6 less 177326 9633105 -2238 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22585 CHIMNEY- 2100 1.1 11.4 less 177328 9633098 -2237 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22586 CHIMNEY- 4620 17.7 5.8 less 177072 9633120 -2244 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22587 CHIMNEY- 2670 1.7 13.6 less 177390 9633178 -2243 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22588 CHIMNEY- 3065 2.4 16.1 less 177401 9633220 -2243 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22590 CHIMNEY- 3245 2.3 18.4 less 177359 9633168 -2246 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22591 CHIMNEY- 5097 2.4 27.1 less 177337 9633144 -2242 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22592 CHIMNEY- 3966 1.3 14.5 less 177331 9633122 -2238 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22594 CHIMNEY- 1102 2.0 30.1 less 177057 9633141 -2242 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22595 CHIMNEY- 4895 2.7 17.8 less 177063 9633142 -2240 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22597 CHIMNEY- 6175 16.5 13.9 less 177046 9633088 -2244 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22598 CHIMNEY- 2870 0.8 27.4 less 177015 9633059 -2247 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22599 CHIMNEY- 5038 0.7 41.5 less 176995 9633034 -2244 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22601 CHIMNEY- 5209 1.7 23.7 0.2 177082 9633170 -2248 Massive
ROV Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.7 5.8 less
than
LOD
-------------------------
Maximum 17.7 41.5 0.2
-------------------------
Average 4.0 19.7 0.0
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 56 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Solwara 15:

Solwara 15 occurs approximately 5 km SSW of Solwara 10 within the central Manus Spreading Centre (Figure 1). The system comprises a cluster of small, generally NE trending/elongated chimney occurrences scattered along about 1km of the main spreading ridge axis (Figure 5). No samples were recovered from this occurrence due to operational issues.

Solwara 16:

Solwara 16 occurs approximately 20km SSW of Solwara 10 in the SW portion of the Manus Spreading Centre (Figure 1). The system comprises sulphide occurrences, algal mats and hydrothermal indicators along an approximate 4km NE strike (Figure 6). Six samples were recovered and recorded maximum XRF results of 5.7% Cu and 24.3% Zn (refer to Table 4).

Table 4: Solwara 16 XRF Results (sulphide samples)

----------------
Solwara16 XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22602 CHIMNEY- 1420 2.1 18.6 less 830088 9619519 -2162 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22603 CHIMNEY- 894 5.7 20.5 less 830099 9619505 -2147 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22604 CHIMNEY- 3070 0.9 17.2 less 830124 9619542 -2149 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22605 CHIMNEY- 2319 1.0 24.3 less 830095 9619634 -2159 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22607 CHIMNEY- 1276 0.7 23.9 less 829893 9619433 -2163 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22608 CHIMNEY- 1425 1.8 18.9 less 829946 9619369 -2160 Massive
ROV than Sulphide
LOD
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.7 17.2 less
than
LOD
-------------------------
Maximum 5.7 24.3 0.1
-------------------------
Average 2.0 20.6 0.0
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 55 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Solwara 17:

Solwara 17 occurs within the older Willaumez Spreading Centre approximately 60km NE of Solwara 11. The system comprises a 110m by 60m zone of oxidized outcropping sulphides and extensive algal mats and hydrothermal oxide coatings in relatively shallow waters (around 450m). XRF analysis suggests the samples collected from the system outcropping at surface are close to the detection limit of the portable Niton XRF machine (Refer to Table 5).

Table 5: Solwara 17 XRF Results (sulphide samples)

----------------
Solwara17 XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22614 CHIMNEY- 587 0.5 0.2 0.8 558688 9664152 -528 Semi-
ROV massive
Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22615 CHIMNEY- 0.5 0.5 0.4 558717 9664138 -535 Semi-
ROV massive
Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22617 CHIMNEY- 781 0.4 less 0.3 558730 9664126 -533 Semi-
ROV than massive
LOD Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.4 less 0.3
than
LOD
-------------------------
Maximum 0.5 0.5 0.8
-------------------------
Average 0.5 0.2 0.5
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 55 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Solwara 18:

Solwara 18 also occurs within the older Willaumez Spreading Centre, approximately 20km NNE of Solwara 11. The system comprises east-west elongated chimney clusters scattered over about 80m of strike (Figure 8), hosted within a broader footprint of hydrothermal indicators. XRF analyses from two samples collected returned values up to a maximum of 1.1% Cu and 14.1% Zn (Refer to Table 6).

Table 6: Solwara 18 XRF Results (sulphide samples)

----------------
Solwara18 XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22618 CHIMNEY- 2980 1.1 14.1 0.6 526570 9660001 -1308 Semi-
ROV massive
Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22619 CHIMNEY- 2995 0.8 7.8 0.5 526600 9659998 -1308 Semi-
ROV massive
Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.8 7.8 0.5
-------------------------
Maximum 1.1 14.1 0.6
-------------------------
Average 1.0 10.9 0.6
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 55 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Solwara 19:

Solwara 19 occurs within the Sherburne Rifts region of the central Bismarck Sea approximately 150km WSW of Solwara 10. The system defined comprises a northerly trending zone of barite chimneys outcropping for approximately 110m (Figure 9), situated on a mound ESE of a large old caldera system. The sample collected did not contain significant base metals under XRF analysis. Analysis for precious metals is pending.

Table 7: Solwara 19 XRF Results (barite samples)

----------------
Solwara19 XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22650 CHIMNEY- 1890 0.4 less less 695878 9594555 -1025 Barite
ROV than than Rich
LOD LOD Precip-
itate
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22651 CHIMNEY- 180 0.4 less less 695891 9594804 -1039 Barite
ROV than than Rich
LOD LOD Precip-
itate
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.4 less less
than than
LOD LOD
-------------------------
Maximum 0.4 less less
than than
LOD LOD
-------------------------
Average 0.4 0.0 0.0
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 55 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Solwara 11i:

Solwara 11i occurs as part of the Solwara 11 system, previously found by Teck Resources in 2008, in the Willaumez Spreading Centre. The Solwara 11 region comprises a minimum of nine known sulphide clusters, with additional outcrops of isolated sulphide, all within a general 2km by 2km area (Figure 10). The system defined at Solwara 11i comprises a generally EW trending zone of sulphide clusters. Maximum values returned from the two samples recovered were 1.2% Cu and 35.4% Zn.

Table 8: Solwara 11i XRF results (sulphide samples)

----------------
Solwara11i XRF (avg %(1))
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
East- North-
Sample Sample Weight ing ing Depth
No Type (g) Cu Zn Pb (2) (2) (2) Lithology
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22622 CHIMNEY- 2150 0.9 35.4 1.2 520503 9650798 -1457 Massive
ROV Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
22623 CHIMNEY- 3160 1.2 20.4 0.2 520476 9650740 -1458 Massive
ROV Sulphide
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minimum 0.9 20.4 0.3
-------------------------
Maximum 1.2 35.4 1.2
--------------------------
Average 1.0 27.9 0.7
-------------------------

1. Average of 10 analyses per sub-sample using hand-held XRF(i).
2. Coordinates projected as UTM zone 55 south using a WGS 1984 datum
3. less than LOD = below detection limit

Future Work

The 2009 exploration program generated a large parcel of geophysical and bathymetric data, as well as rock samples and maps which will drive the next round of resource drilling and evaluation in the Bismarck Sea. The results of this work will be reported in the Company's ongoing NI43-101 regulatory filings as and when the finished products become available. Final assay results for base metals and precious metals are pending for all samples other than those collected from Solwara 12 and 13.

Target Testing Procedure

Sulphide mineralisation at the various prospects was observed using a FCV3000 ROV during target testing traverses. The planned traverses were generally a series of parallel lines, nominally 200 or 300 metres apart. When chimney structures are located, using a combination of video and sonar apparatus, that area is mapped in greater detail with the ROV, and samples collected.

Sampling Procedure

Grab samples were collected from the seafloor using a manipulator arm mounted on the ROV. Chimney samples averaging 37 kg (from 5 kg to 70 kg) were placed in a separate sample cage for recovery to the ship. They were then processed on board. Sub-samples averaging 4.8 kg (from 1.6 kg to 7.3 kg) were taken from each of the sulphide samples using a pneumatic jack hammer, generally taking a cross section of the sample towards the base of the block. The remaining portions of each sample were retained for reference purposes.

Equipment Spread

The mapping work described herein was completed using a Fugro FCV3000 series ROV. The ROV is equipped with sensors used to map the seafloor. These include: various video cameras and two magnetometers provided by Ocean Floor Geophysics Inc. In addition, high-resolution mapping sonars housed on the ROV are being successfully used for the first time to identify real-time seafloor features ahead and to the sides of the ROV beyond the range of the video camera systems used previously.

For seafloor sampling purposes, the ROV is equipped with two manipulator arms and a custom-built sample tray, or geobox, for storing up to 10 hand-sized grab samples or scoop samples. Larger samples are stowed and recovered using a custom built array of salvage bins.

Laboratory Assaying

All laboratory analyses were carried out by ALS Laboratory Group in Brisbane and Townsville, Australia. ALS operates quality systems based on international standards ISO/IEC17025:1999 General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories and ISO9001:2000 Quality Management Systems - Requirements.

Sample Custodianship

All sampling, sample handling and analysis was completed under the supervision of Nautilus personnel. Sampling was carried out aboard the MV Fugro Solstice while at sea. All sub-samples were placed into numbered plastic bags. The bagged samples were then subsequently placed into sealed plastic containers with security tags, and transported to ALS laboratories in Townsville, Australia, via courier.

Quality Assurance

Low-grade blank material, field-duplicates and externally certified geochemical reference materials with known concentrations of gold, copper, zinc, lead and silver were included for analysis with each batch of samples as per a documented quality assurance/quality control procedure. Analysis of these reference materials indicates that the quality of sample preparation and analyses are within acceptable limits for the reporting exploration results.

(i) Note on results of indicative analyses from hand-held XRF, Niton XLT 592 instrument

A hand-held XRF instrument (Niton XLT 592) was used to obtain indications of the grade of materials recovered from the seafloor. It does not provide the accuracy required to report assays. The instrument is not calibrated using certified standards and the samples have not been crushed and prepared to minimise matrix effects, which may affect the accuracy of the analysis. However, a suite of eight standard samples were analysed for copper, zinc, lead and iron prior to use on the MV Fugro Solstice 2009 cruise. These results, together with past comparisons between the XRF analysis and assay results for similar samples, indicate the XRF tool is a reliable method for providing indicative results of the tenor of mineralisation, and provides valuable data for real time decision-making.

The Nitron XLT 592 analyser is used by Nautilus in a setting designed for sulphide-rich samples containing high metal contents greater than 1%. Results have low precision and accuracy in samples with metal contents less than 1%.

Measurements by the hand-held XRF instrument are not assay results and do not measure gold or silver. Samples will be formally assayed by an ALS Group laboratory.

Qualified Person

The exploration results reported in this announcement have been compiled under the supervision of Michael Johnston, Vice President Strategic Development of Nautilus Minerals. Mr Johnston is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, has over 25 years experience in mining and exploration geology, and is a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. He consents to his name being used in this release.