* Signs deal with Harren & Partner for a ship
* Says Harren to build ship for 127 million euros
* Harren to own 50.01 pct interest in the ship
* Says ship will be chartered to a mining JV
* Nautilus to hold a 70 pct stake in mining JV
* Shares up as much as 18 pct
April 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s Nautilus Minerals , which mines the sea floor for mineral deposits, signed an agreement with German shipper Harren & Partner for a ship to support operations at its flagship copper mine in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, sending its shares up as much as 18 percent.
Nautilus aims to start production at the world’s first off-shore copper mine -- the Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea -- in the second half of 2013 and getting a contract for a ship was the last big step to get board approval. [ID:nN07117633]
Harren will build the ship at a cost of about 127 million euros ($183.34 million) and deliver it in the first half of 2013, Nautilus said in a statement.
Harren will own a 50.01 percent interest in the ship, while Nautilus will hold the rest through a holding company. The Papua New Guinea government, through Petromin PNG Holdings Ltd, holds a 5 percent stake in that holding company.
The ship will be chartered to a mining joint venture -- in which Nautilus holds a 70 percent stake, and Petromin the rest -- for eight years at an average daily rate of $70,000.
Nautilus aims to produce about 80,000 tonnes of copper, along with 150,000-200,000 ounces of gold annually from the project.
Shares of Nautilus were trading up 6.8 percent at C$3.15 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They touched a high of C$3.48 earlier in the session. ($1 = 0.693 Euros) (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore;Editing by Vyas Mohan)
Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore