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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!

¡VAMOS! Open Day and Advisory Board meeting, Nenagh, Ireland

The ¡VAMOS! project is now having its second field trials where the mining technology developed by a team of European researchers and companies is being tested and constantly improved. In Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! project found the perfect place to test its equipment in an open-pit flooded mine, resulting from an abandoned mine site. Together with the Open Day, where the team showed the technology in action to a number of stakeholders, technical and advisory board meetings also happened during the 24 and 25 of October.

On the 23rd of October, the ¡VAMOS! team held a technical meeting reserved to the partners that are involved in developing the many specialised bits that compose the ¡VAMOS! technology: the mining vehicle and the Launch and Recovery Vessel are just a few examples. During this meeting partners discussed the current state of their specific components and of the technology as a whole. Discussions led into a planned line of work that will translate into further improvement of the technology even during the field trials period in Ireland – that should extend for a few more weeks.

Then on the 24th, coupled with presentations on the project, local geology and mining history of Nenagh and Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! team held an Open Day during which around 80 visitors had the chance to see the innovative mining technology in action. Visitors were divided into groups and introduced to see different parts of the technology at a time. This allowed the visitors to have a better look and understanding of the technology. The visitors gave input to the project, both on engagement and exploitation that will surely be helpful to the project.

The last day of this period, the 25th, included both an Advisory Board meeting in the morning and an Exploitation Workshop in the afternoon. During the Advisory Board meeting, the ¡VAMOS! line of work was presented to environmental and mining experts with the aim to get their opinions and advice on the development of the technology, what should still be done and how. Fruitful input from the experts was given and it will surely benefit the project development as a whole.

To this, the Exploitation workshop followed. During this, the ¡VAMOS! partners had an intensive discussion on the future of the project and how to capitalise on the project’s innovative mining technology. How, when, what and who, were some of the questions around the future that were posed and answered by the consortium.

All in all, these few days were very benefitial, not only for the project partners that had interesting discussions as well as received input from expert stakeholders, but also to the visitors – geologists, researchers, locals – that had a unique chance to see the ¡VAMOS! technology in action. Their support to the team is a good tonic for the future that is to come!

UNEXMIN Project Partners meeting, Bled

The first UNEXMIN consortium meeting of 2018 took place during the 31st of January and 1st of February in Bled, Slovenia. The main points of discussions included the current and future developments of the UX-1 robot and the preparations for the first trial at the Kaatiala mine, Finland, in June.

The first meeting day started with a revision and update of the work developed by the project partners. In the afternoon, the UNEXMIN consortium and advisory board members – personnel with useful experience in the fields if robotics and raw materials – were separated into advisory meetings and technical UX-1 discussions. The day ended with the planning for the assembly of the UX-1 robot – to happen in Porto, Portugal, during April.

UNEXMIN project partners at the first 2018 consortium meeting

The second day was place to the further technical discussions for the present and future developments of the technology. Preparations for the first pilot trial in the Kaatiala mine in Finland were also agreed upon so everything can work properly. Following, there was a interactive discussion on exploitation measures for the UNEXMIN technology.

Preparations for the Kaatiala mine pilot test

Exploitation discussion for UNEXMIN technology

The consortium is working hard to develop the robotic system that will be able to explore and map flooded mines and other underwater environments!

¡VAMOS! & UNEXMIN joint conference, Bled

On the January 30, the Hotel Kompas in Bled, Slovenia, hosted the “Use of Robotics and Automation for Mineral Prospecting and Extraction”, a joint conference of UNEXMIN, ¡VAMOS! and Real Time Mining Projects. The conference was led by Gorazd Zibret from the Geological Survey of Slovenia. The 1-day conference featured the latest research in a variety of topics related to robotics and automation and their application to exploration and extraction of mineral raw materials. It started with a plenary session featuring presentations such as “Advances in Subsea Mining” (Stef Kapusniak) and “Future Mining: Scenarios and Roadmaps (an international review)” (Marco Konrat Martins, LPRC).

The conference was then divided into two parallel sessions: one related to Hardware developments moderated by Norbert Zajzon (University of Miskolc) and the other related to Software developments moderated by Steve Henley (Resource Computing International).

After the lunch break, the conference resumed with a plenary session introducing the leading projects. LPRC presented “UNEXMIN project: an underwater explorer for flooded mines” (Luís Lopes).

UNEXMIN / ¡VAMOS! workshops

During the afternoon, the participants were divided in two interactive workshops: one dedicated to exploitation of the technologies, the other to future research and technology roadmap planning.

On the exploitation workshop participants were called to answer three questions. The input will then be used to adapt better exploitation measures for both projects. The questions were: (1) What is the best the best exploitation strategy for project participants?, (2) How to persuade customers to buy/invest into new technologies? and, (3) How and where to get additional funds for the projects’ development?.

The research roadmap workshop focussed on analysing future scenarios and how the technologies can adapt to specific changes in the raw materials sector. Then, participants helped in the identification of future prospects in three main areas: geological data collection, spatial awareness and navigation, and extraction. The data will be used to define possible research/technology pathways for both projects for the short, medium and long-term future.

UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! at the “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”, Brussels

Both the UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects were presented at the first event on Horizon 2020 mining projects, entitled “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”, organized by EASME in Brussels, Belgium, on the 12th of December 2017. The event served as a catalyser to gather Horizon 2020 and FP7 projects that are performing research and innovation in the various areas of the mining sector. These include underwater exploration (the case for UNEXMIN) and underwater exploitation (the case for ¡VAMOS!), amongst many others.

The one-day event was characterised by presentations from each of the invited projects regarding objectives, approaches, and challenges – the main goal was to find synergies between the different mining projects, specially through networking. There were 6 main fields where the different projects were allocated: Intelligent Mining, Deep Sea Exploration and Mining, Sustainable Selective Low-Impact Mining, Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU, Real Time Exploration and Real Time Mining, Alternative Mining and, finally, Climate Services for Mining.

The one-day event was characterised by presentations from each of the invited projects regarding objectives, approaches, and challenges. The main goal was to find synergies between the different mining projects, specially through networking. There were 6 main fields where the different projects were allocated: Intelligent Mining, Deep Sea Exploration and Mining, Sustainable Selective Low-Impact Mining, Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU, Real Time Exploration and Real Time Mining, Alternative Mining and, finally, Climate Services for Mining.

The UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects were both part of the “Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU” session. Both projects are creating innovative solutions to explore and exploit underwater environments such as flooded underground mines and open-pit mines. With the use of the technologies, that are being developed by our projects, the re-opening of closed, abandoned mines is becoming a reality.

¡VAMOS! at the Mines and Technology conference, London

The Mines and Technology conference, together with the Mines and Money symposium, took place from the 27th to the 30th of November in the Business Design Centre in London. The conference addressed the most critical areas within the technology revolution that is happening in the mining sector. Senior decision makers from mining companies and technology providers alike shared their vision and innovation strategies and discussed the latest technological developments in the sector.

During the morning plenary and afternoon parallel sessions, a range of topics, from automation and enhanced drilling systems to data analytics and mobile technologies, were presented alongside with their respective safety, environmental and cost benefits.

From LPRC, Edine Bakker gave a presentation on the newly developed ¡VAMOS! mining technology and its potential benefits, which was received with much interest and enthusiasm by the audience. The overwhelmingly positive feedback on the presentation illustrates a general consensus on the positive impacts that the project might have once it is finished, as developments and testing in real life conditions are still ongoing.

Edine Bakker presenting the ¡VAMOS! project during the Mines and Technology conference

It is now up to the ¡VAMOS! project partners to define their future strategy to advance the technology to the next level.

UNEXMIN La Palma Workshop

On the 3rd and 4th of October, 2017, the UNEXMIN consortium got together in the island of La Palma, Spain, to discuss some very important aspects of the project. Among these there were discussions on the current development of the project, the near future steps and the way to go when the time to exploit the results come – making the novel UNEXMIN technology available to the market.

The first day started with the always necessary discussions related to the developments of the project: past, present and future were all analysed. After this groundwork, the consortium started a debate to make a plan on how to explore the UNEXMIN technology to the market once the project is over.

LPRC members giving a warm welcome to the workshop participants

The discussions around the future exploitation of the UNEXMIN project and its results extended to the second day of the meeting. To finalise this fruitful workshop, an early exploitation plan and course of action were successfully defined. This action will ensure the everyone is working towards the same objectives.

The discussions were partly held under a nice environment

The LPRC team, host of this UNEXMIN meeting in La Palma, actively participated in all the discussions giving some very useful input for the definition of the exploitation plan.

The consortium partners, who loved “La Isla Bonita”, as La Palma is known, will get back together in Bled, Slovenia, for a consortium meeting.

The UNEXMIN partners present in La Palma

See you all there!