UNEXMIN presented at EGU 2019, Vienna

The UNEXMIN project was presented by LPRC’s member Luís Lopes during this year’s EGU General Assembly meeting, held in Vienna, between the 7th and 12th of April. The overview of the current and future state of the project was presented to a geoscientists audience, interested in  the future state of the mineral exploration sector.

UNEXMIN’s presentation on EGU 2019 was inserted on the session ITS2.2/ERE4.4 – The New Roadmap for Mineral Exploration: Challenges and Innovative approachesLuís Lopes’s talk on UNEXMIN, entitled “UNEXMIN: an innovative approach for mineral exploration in flooded mines “, focused on the project’s innovative solution that aims to contribute to mineral exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines in Europe, without major costs or associated risks. The past, present and future of the technology were covered within the discussed topics that included the development of the robotic system and the field trials.

During the presentation on the project, there were a roomful of 60 people present. A session on Questions and Answers after the talk provided more input on the project to the session participants. It should be noted that the presentation had a positive and intriguiging effect on the audience: a great part showed interest either by making questions during the Q&A session or by directly talking to the presenter after the talk.

Luís Lopes also assisted to the debate on “Science in policymaking: Who is responsible?” and discussed poster presentations on new innovative approaches in mining with their authors during the poster session. LPRC’s line of work directly shines under geoscience and policy making, and therefore, this was a good opportunity to learn about the state of play in these fields.

Link to the debate on “Science in policymaking” debate: https://client.cntv.at/egu2019/gdb2

The UNEXMIN project was communicated and disseminated with LPRC’s efforts once again!

MacaroNight Consortium meeting, La Laguna

The consortium of MacaroNight met in La Laguna to review the event of last year, finalise the reporting and plan the upcoming activities for 2019.

During the day the representatives of the University of La Laguna, University of Madeira, the Regional Fund for Science and Technology, the Scientific Park of the University of Las Palmas, the Astrophysics Institute of the Canary Islands and LPRC discussed the event of 2018, jointly analysed the feedback the assistants had left in the questionnaires and identified the actions to be implemented for next year.

LPRC, as the coordinator presented the results of all Deliverables and actions of 2018 and laid out the expectations in terms of MacaroNight 2019. During the evening, each partner gave a presentation explaining how they are envisioning next year and the ways to create a cohesive event along all islands and both countries.

Amongst many other novelties, next year will count with the participation of Cape Verde, a livestream from the Astrophysics Institutes’ telescopes in La Palma and the theme for 2019, “The future of the Macaronesia!”

UNEXMIN at the 2nd International Real Time Mining Conference

The UNEXMIN project co-organized the 2nd edition of the Real Time Mining Conference, in Freiberg, Germany, on the 26 and 27 of March 2019. UNEXMIN worked together with the Real Time Mining and SOLSA projects – all Horizon 2020 raw materials funded – to bring together experts from raw materials exploration fields to debate the future of mining exploration.

The first day of the conference included a demonstration of the Real Time Mining project outputs – both on the field and  on the conference room. First, participants had the chance to go inside the Reiche Zeche mine, in Freiberg, where the Real Time Mining project personnel showed and explained their project’s activities. After the visit, participants were invited to learn more about the RTM project’s outputs, results and findings. A series of short presentations introduced each of the Work Packages.

The actual 2nd International Real Time Mining Conference was held on the second day, the 27th of March. The conference brought together technical and overview talks from the UNEXMIN, Real Time Mining and SOLSA projects, and presentations from experts of the mining industry. The contribution from research, education and industry showed by the presentations made an overall picture of the current state and advancements of mining exploration and provided a look into the future.

In total, the UNEXMIN personnel gave four talks during this day. From LPRC, Luís Lopes presented the current state of the UNEXMIN project, as of March 2019. The presentation was well received and gathered a lot of interest in the project and to the more technical presentations that followed. Then throughout the day, presentations on the multispectral camera and its data, 3D mine mapping tools and findings of the field trials, were given by partners University of Miskolc, INESC TEC and Geological Survey of Slovenia, respectively.

Download the UNEXMIN presentation – Project Overview – Real Time Mining conference (March 2019)

By the end of the conference the UNEXMIN team left with a sense of duty accomplished. The project was communicated to a wide range of stakeholders and interest in the project was, once more, raised. LPRC was proud to present the UNEXMIN project and to contribute to discussions towards a more innovative European raw materials future.

CHPM2030 Roadmapping workshop, Las Palmas

LPRC organised the CHPM2030 Roadmapping Workshop in Las Palmas as a follow-up of the previous Visioning workshop, under WP6 – Roadmapping and preparation for pilots. The participants were selected from both Consortium members and external research centres and companies from the geothermal and mineral sectors.

After the introduction presentations from Tamás Madarasz: CHPM2030 State of the art, Tamás Miklovicz: WP6 context, and Marco Konrat: Roadmapping methodology, the main tasks were the validation of previously identified targets (vision), and the backcasting exercise itself. The targets are related to  two distinct time horizons: 2030 pilot level (TRL 6-7), and 2050 full scale application (TRL 8-9). The sum of the targets is the vision description, and it is formulated as the desired end-state to arrive by 2050. The proposed targets were delivered at the Visioning workshop with the use of the results from the Delphi survey, and the Horizon Scanning exercise.

In short, the Vision describes where to go (targets) and the Roadmap outlines how to get there (actions + timeline). The backcasting exercise allowed the CHPM team to investigate how to reach the goals and what actions and paths need to be taken and pursued. Whenever investigating a target, the group considered three aspects, when formulating the actions: 1) underlying research & knowledge, 2) capabilities, performance & technologies and, 3) partnership and actors. When thinking about the long term targets in 2050, “wildcards”, unexpected disruptive events that may influence reaching the vision, were also considered. The participants were split into two parallel groups for the sake of the exercise: development and exploration, and operation and market, facilitated by Tamas Miklovicz and Marco Konrat, respectively. At the last session, all participants came together and the group facilitators presented the results from the previous two sessions.

This line of activities will be only one layer of the final CHPM2030 roadmaps. This particular aspect is testing the overall concept of the cross fertilization of the geothermal and mineral industries. The second layer consists of investigating concrete areas for CHPM application and providing gaps and recommendations at four EU study areas in Sweden, UK, Portugal and Romania. The third layer is the direct followup and research plan of the current technological components of the CHPM scheme. When put together, these elements will make up the final Research Roadmap for the CHPM technology.

During the second day, the participants visited the Spanish Bank of Algae, as part of a field trip The facility provides many services, including the bank of microalgae and cyanobacteria strains, genomic DNA bank, algal biomass production for industry, production of seaweed extracts on demand for companies in the biotechnology sector, analysis of samples for the determination of algae, deposit and maintenance of strains for registration of industrial property. More than 2000 algae strains are stored in the algae bank and  many interesting research activities were presented to the group. The next stop was PLOCAN, the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands. The guided tour included a presentation of the ongoing activities and research of the infrastructure and a visit to the control room and laboratories with ROVs, sailbouys and submarine autonomous gliders.

The LPRC team will now take these new input and start drafting the roadmaps for the CHPM technology in the future! We will present the roadmap at the final conference in Delft, and it will be finalised later in June!

UNEXMIN present at the EU Industry Days 2019, Brussels

The UNEXMIN project was present at the EU Industry Days 2019 in Brussels. The event, during the 5th and 6th of February, brought together many stakeholders from the most diverse industrial sectors within Europe and beyond, also including researchers and governmental bodies. Some European funded projects were invited to showcase their innovations and impact in the EU industry landscape. This was the case for UNEXMIN.

During both days of the event the UNEXMIN project booth conveyed a lot of interest from the participants that visited the exhibition area. The UNEXMIN stand counted with three Consortium partner and one robot, the first UX-1 prototype. From La Palma Research Centre, Luís Lopes was present to help in communicating the project to a very diverse audience.

The presence of the UX-1 robot at the UNEXMIN stand surely invited people to come and discuss about the robot itself and the project overall. Past, present and future developments were among discussions as were some future commercial perspectives where the innovative UNEXMIN technology can be applied.

In the end of the event, the UNEXMIN team felt that this was a great opportunity to disseminate and communicate about the project and was very glad to be invited to such an important event. Mission accomplished!

 

¡VAMOS! Final consortium meeting & Final review meeting, Brussels

The ¡VAMOS! project, from where the consortium developed an innovative mining system, is now over. The final consortium meeting was held on the 30th of January and the final review meeting with the European Commission and the project reviewer on the 31st of January. Now it is time to wrap up the results and collect the fruits of future collaboration.

The consortium meeting brought together the project partners to discuss on the overall achievements during the past 4 years. The partners were very happy with what was achieved from this ambitious project. Discussions on the short and medium-term futures were held among the partners. It is essential to find a common ground to continue and exploit the results arising from this project.

On the other hand, during the review meeting, all the work done during the project was presented and scrutinized by the Project Officer and reviewer. Presentations covered topics such as policy, future research and stakeholder engagement (where LPRC participated) and others on the actual development of the technology – the mining machine, EVA and the LARV, amongst others. The consortium got a very positive feedback from the work done, which certifies the value of these 4 years for all the partners.

LPRC is pleased to have been able to be part of such a consortium and project. Our role on Policy, Stakeholder engagement, Dissemination and Future research prospects helped the project in many ways. We hope the future is bright for ¡VAMOS!

Read more about the outcomes and future of ¡VAMOS!: http://vamos-project.eu/the-outcomes-and-the-future-of-the-vamos-project/

Watch the final ¡VAMOS! video – ¡VAMOS! project movie

INTERMIN Consortium meeting

During the last two days of January, project partners and the members of the Advisory Board gathered in Madrid at the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining (IGME) to have a detailed discussion on the project progress and plan ahead with the work for the upcoming year.

On the first day, the first two work packages were presented, including their status and upcoming tasks. WP1 is collecting contacts of raw materials related training centres across the world, while developing a reference skills catalogue. WP2 managed by LPRC is focused on assessing skills gaps in the raw material sector under three timeframes – short-, medium- and long-term. The status of this research was presented by our colleague, Marco Martins and discussions followed by the experts with projections on sector developments for the next decade. WP2 closed its session with the kick-off of the scenario development exercise, ran by BRGM and Futuribles. Scenarios are being developed for exploring important raw materials drivers and trends, which in turn will support the creation of a Competency Model for raw materials skills and competences.

The second day of the meeting started with a cluster session from EIT Raw Materials, INFACT Project and MIREU Project, exploring potential cooperation with INTERMIN. The meeting finished with discussions over the plans for implementation of the network of training centres as well as the project planning for 2019 and a short but impressive visit to the Museum of Mines. Next meeting is expected to be held between September and October 2019 in South America. Stay tuned for updates!

UNEXMIN meeting, La Palma

La Palma Research Centre recently had the pleasure to receive the UNEXMIN partners in the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Spain. The meeting that brought together partners to discuss the actual state of UNEXMIN and the future of the project was held on the 10 and 11th of January.

The development of the multi-robotic platform was also discussed and a schedule for the production and assembly of the two other robots was defined. This is an important step in order to guarantee that the UNEXMIN team will have the robots ready in time for the field trials.

The first day started with discussions among the partners about the current state of the trials. Both the data analysis from the previous tests (Idrija and Kaatiala) as well as the two next ones (Urgeiriça and Ecton) were discussed. This last point was of particular importance since the team will have two and three robots in Urgeiriça and Ecton, respectively, which will make the trials ever more complex. Therefore, proper planning is crucial and that was one of the reasons why this meeting was held now. The Urgeiriça trial is planned for March/April, while UNEXMIN will go to Ecton in May.

The other major point of the meeting – on the second day – was the discussion of the short, medium and long-term future of the UNEXMIN technology. Discussions focussed on how to better serve the market with this innovative technology that will result in the exploration and 3D mapping of underground flooded mines and other underwater environments.

Also, on the second day, as an interactive exercise, the partners worked together on a mindmapping exercise that was organised by LPRC. The results from this mindmap as well as from other foresight tools will be input for the research roadmap of the UNEXMIN technology.

This was a successful meeting where all the partners contributed with their views and knowledge and from where a bright future for UNEXMIN could be created!

From LPRC, it was a pleasure to host this meeting and we hope to see our UNEXMIN partners there in a future opportunity.

CHPM2030 Visioning workshop, Las Palmas

LPRC recently organised the CHPM2030 Visioning Workshop in Las Palmas. The participants were selected from both Consortium members, external research centres and companies from the geothermal and mineral sector. The workshop is part of the project’s forward looking exercise which is aiming to set the ground for subsequent implementation of the CHPM (Combined Heat Power and Metal extraction) technology in the future (2030/2050). The goal of this workshop is to create a shared vision, clear picture, description about how the technology ideally evolves by 2030/2050 and set tangible/measurable targets for it.

The workshop begun with introductory presentations (Tamas Madarasz: CHPM state-of-the-art, Tamas Miklovicz: WP6 context and Marco Konrat: Visioning methodology), to which the main exercise followed: the group discussion of given topics (eg. drilling) about requirements vs. achievability and targets that must be achieved before the CHPM technology can reach pilot level (TRL 6-7) by 2030 and full scale (TRL 8-9) by 2050. The different topics were grouped as  exploration and market, development and operation. Each contained subtopics and issues that had emerged during the Delphi survey. This was not a exhaustive list, and the participants added new issues or reformulated relevant ones during the group work. The aim of the group work was to set measurable targets at each relevant issue for 2030 and/or 2050 (eg. reduce drilling cost by 2030 within 30%). The sum of the targets is the vision for the given area.

The last session was about consensus building. For this, the team brought all group visions together (per area, per time horizon) and created a shared vision for 2030 and 2050. There is still a lot post-processing to be done, but the work will now continue with fresh ideas and new input. The CHPM 2030 and 2050 roadmaps will be based on this vision and will outline actions in order to meet the proposed targets and arrive at the desired future.

On the second day, the participants visited PLOCAN‘s oceanic research platform. The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) is a Research Infrastructure (RI) labeled by the ICTS (Unique Scientific and Technological Infrastructure) Spanish National Roadmap. The visit covered a boat trip to see the offshore platform, and a presentation at the onshore laboratories about the ongoing PLOCAN research and blue economy of the Canary Islands.

The work will continue with processing of the workshop results, and prepare the Vision for the Roadmapping activities in early 2019!

FORAM final and review meeting, Brussels

On the 29th of October, LPRC was present at the last meeting of the FORAM project, that officialy ended two days later, on the 31st. This meeting coincided with the review meeting by the EC and both were held together. FORAM fostered international cooperation on raw materials while gathering support from stakeholders from all over the world.

The one-day event consisted in the presentation of the 6 Work Packages’ line of work, results and future. Among others, major focus was put on the roadmap work package, the one that will dictate further exploitation of the projects results, conducting in the establishment of a World Forum on Raw Materials in a near future. All project partners strongly support and offered their help for further exploitation of the results, in line with what have been delined by the FORAM roadmap.

The project review went very well, with Jonas Hedberg, FORAM’s project officer, stating that the project has achieved what it proposed in the beginning in a timely fashion. The PO is now eager to see the exploitation of the results in the short to long-term, and which would see FORAM turning into a sustainable EC-funded project. Again, the creation of a World Forum on Raw Materials would strongly show this.

All good things come to an end, and so did the FORAM project. However, this is the perfect opportunity for a new beginning, instead of a goodbye!