INTRAW workshop with the Experts, Brussels

The INTRAW workshop with the Joint Panel of Experts (JPE) took place on the 8th of November in Brussels, associated to the Raw Materials Week 2017. The workshop was held in the very same room as the first Solvay Conference, in 1911, which had the presence of scientist like Einstein, Planck, Rutherford and Skłodowska-Curie, among others. High workshop prospects were to be expected with such history!

Solvay Conference, 1911

The INTRAW project is dedicated to foster cooperation between the EU and technologically advanced countries, or the so-called Reference Countries. This meeting was not an exception in pursuing such objective. The workshop was organized as part of the 2nd European Raw Materials Week, and the bulk of the LPRC team was present in the Brussels event. The aim of the LPRC-led workshop was to work out tangible cooperation opportunities between the EU and the five Reference Countries (Australia, Canada, South Africa, Japan and USA). The results can be translated as input to our ongoing deliverable: a report on cross-cutting synergies, emerging scenarios and their potential impact on international cooperation on raw materials.

The workshop started with an overview of the INTRAW project led by the coordinator, Vitor Correia, and after, our colleague Marco Martins introduced the workshop exercise. Within the workshop, the participants were divided into five groups, one for each of the Reference Countries, moderated by the country representative from the consortium and co-moderated by the LPRC members. The main driver for this exercise was to discuss a predefined list of factors, and plotting them on a chart (strength-weakness) considering both a specific Reference Country and the EU, as a basis for bilateral and/or multilateral cooperation opportunities in the field of mineral raw materials. In the end, the individual group results were introduced to the whole in a plenary session and discussed by all the participants. As a result of this interactive exercise, the groups identified the top 3 cooperation opportunities, on a bilateral and even multilateral basis between the EU and specific reference countries. The LPRC team is currently working on the results of this very fruitful workshop.

During the afternoon, the workshop participants stayed for a round table discussion, coorganised by the INTRAW and FORAM projects. The panelists, representatives from the EU, China, Japan and Canada, discussed the challenges on international cooperation on mineral raw materials.

All in all, it was a very fruitful workshop: our team is very proud of all the work!

LPRC at the Raw Materials Week 2017, Brussels

The second European Raw Materials Week was held in Brussels from the 6th to the 10th of November. This is a recent event, that intends to get together projects, parterns and personel related to the all the areas of raw materials to discuss on the most pressuring topics for the sector. As a team actively dealing with raw materials projects, LPRC was present during this very important forum.

Raw Materials Week 2017

The LPRC members have been present in many events during this week and those include: 1) the INTRAW project consortiun meeting, 2) the EU advanced mining country raw materials diplomacy dialogue conference, 3) the INTRAW Experts Workshop – which was organised by the LPRC team, 4) the Reconciling biodiversity protection and extractive activities conference, 5) the The EU Raw Materials Knowledge Base in support of EU raw materials policy, 6) the Prospecting secondary raw materials in the urban mine and mining wastes (ProSUM) conference and, finally, 7) the MINATURA2020 final conference.

During the week, a poster session was also occurring. There were 6 project posters where LPRC is an partner: UNEXMIN, ¡VAMOS!, CHPM2030, INTRAW, MINATURA 2020 and MICA. These projects that focus on exploration, exploitation and raw materials databases attracted a lot of attention to the Raw Materials Week participants – they fitted perfectly into the thematic.

Preparation of the RMW poster session with the UNEXMIN, INTRAW, MINATURA 2020, ¡VAMOS, CHPM2030 and MICA projects

Being present at this high-level conferences and workshops allowed the LPRC members to gain valuable insight on the issues, challenges and solutions that are linked to the raw materials sector, while also participating in the many discussions held in the many conferences.

We hope to participate again next year!

¡VAMOS! technology demonstration, Devon, UK

On the 24th of October the ¡VAMOS! consortium, Advisory Board members, and interested external parties were invited for a live demonstration of the ¡VAMOS! technology at the Imerys Minerals Ltd. test site in Lee Moor, Devon, UK. The 29 visitors were divided up in small groups and guided around the premises by representatives of project partners SMD Ltd., Damen Dredging Equipment and INESC TEC, who have been working on the various project components. Visitors were provided with PPE and safety instructions before they were taken by boat to the Launch and Recovery Vessel, where they could inspect the Mining Vehicle and witnessed the deployment and recovery of the vehicle. Back on shore, the visitors were given an overview of the functionality of ‘EVA’ – the Exploration VAMOS AUV, an automated underwater vehicle that is being used to assist in precise positioning, navigation and situational awareness of the Mining Vehicle and that can execute preliminary surveys of underwater mine sites.

¡VAMOS! machinery ready for the first test in real life

In the Control Unit and Data Centre, the visitors were shown the impressive virtual reality HMI, where all machinery is controlled and where real-time data on the operations is collected. Real-time data for grade control and mineralogical properties is collected by a LIBS – Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer, which was demonstrated and is being perfected for a wide range of commonly mined minerals.

During the day, ¡VAMOS! demonstrated a highly successful integration of different systems to be applied in underwater mining. The project team was optimistic about continuing the testing until the end of the week to advance even further towards the projects targets.

¡VAMOS! consortium, Advisory Board members and external visitors for the technology demonstration at Devon, UK

This was supported by the Advisory Board: “The consortium should be extremely proud of their efforts. What they have managed to achieve with the ¡VAMOS! System and its integration of new technologies is very impressive”, said Dr. Bramley Murton from UK’s National Oceanography Centre.

On the 31st of October the ¡VAMOS! Project was reviewed by European Commission representatives and an external reviewer. For LPRC, Edine Bakker presented the progress in Work Packages 1 and 6. The reviewers were positive about and impressed by the projects achievements so far and the projects’ management team is optimistic about entering the final stage of the project.

The next test will happen next year in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the whole ¡VAMOS! technology will be once again tested in real environment!