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UNEXMIN & ¡vamos! at the Real-Time Mining Conference, Amsterdam

During the 10th and 11th of October, both the UNEXMIN and ¡vamos! projects were present at the Real-Time Mining Conference, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The two projects offering research and innovation action solutions, had members from the consortia presenting talks to the audience regarding an overview of the work developed and present and future steps.

Real-Time Mining Conference kick-off

The Real-Time Mining conference brought together researchers from 4 EU-funded projects: SOLSA, Real-Time Mining, ¡vamos!, and UNEXMIN and external interested parties such as other project and industry participants. The main goal was to show what each project is working on and the different solutions to overcome the difficulties. The exchange of ideas and rising of synergies between different activities become a welcome reality after each presentation.

The conference kickstarted with the overview presentations of the four above mentioned Horizon2020 projects. From LPRC’s side, two members of the UNEXMIN and ¡vamos! consortia were present at the Real-Time Mining conference – they gave the overview of these respective projects.

¡vamos! and UNEXMIN received a lot of attention with their talks, which was reflected in the great amount of questions and further discussions, even during the breaks. The next sessions for the first and second days were dedicated to more specific talks regarding positioning and material tracking, automated material characterization, resource modelling and value of information, process optimization and, data management.

The Real-Time Mining conference was very successful in all aspects. For LPRC, it meant communicating the projects, raising awareness of the future technologies, finding new ideas and making valuable contacts for the future.

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!

FEMP annual reunion in Sopron, Hungary

The Federation of European Mineral Programs (FEMP) annual reunion took place in Sopron, Hungary, organized by the University of Miskolc. FEMP organizes and co-ordinates the European Mining, Minerals a nd Environmental Program (EMMEP) for students in Resource Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering, Mineral Processing, Recycling and related academic studies. Tamás Miklovicz, as a former student of the European Geotechnical Environmental Course (EGEC), organized by FEMP, participated in the event. Every year a reunion is organized to gather former students, academics and industry rep resentatives for an informal weekend with networking and interesting events

The reunion kicked-off with a guided city tour and welcome reception on Thursday, 31st of August. Next day, after the FEMP industrial members business meeting, the reunion was opened by the organiser, Ferenc Mádai. The morning session included a workshop, discussion about the Minatura2020 project, which was introduced by Zoltán Horváth. Before the workshop, Tamás Miklovicz had a one-slide addition, providing an outlook on Horizon 2020 opportunities and its best examples, including UNEXMIN, INTRAW and CHPM2030 projects.

During the workshop, the participants were divided into three groups, based on the factors that define Mineral Deposits of Public Importance (MDoPI): Level of Geological Knowledge, moderated by Zoltán Horváth, Environmental and Social aspects, moderated by Tamas and Economic considerations, moderated by Ákos Csicsek. Such factors are Background Geological Information & Knowledge – known or unknown mining/quarrying districts, Impact of Past Exploitation Activities in a Specific Tract, Social Acceptance, Compatibility With Other Land Uses, Contribution of an Active Operation to the Added-Value Chain of Mineral Products, etc. The participants realised that these factors are rather complex and many of them can have a positive or negative effect on future mining activity. The participants explained some of their experience at mines they were working. As a conclusion, there are many good examples where mining operation, surface or underground, is very welcome by the local community, however generally speaking, there are a lot of work needs to be done to harmonize mining operation with other land uses.

In the afternoon session, the best master thesis have been presented from the just graduated students. One of the highlight is the Development of a comprehensive system Model for a Magnetic Density Separation Process Line from Wokke Wijdeveld, which dealt with a novel type of separation technique, using water based magnetic ferrofluid, mixed with grains of different density. The mixture is put into an electromagnetic field that creates a vertical density gradient, which separates the particles, based on their type (density), so it can be divided into its base products.

During the whole event, a poster section was open with UNEXMIN, KINDRA, CHPM and INTRAW posters, allowing the participants to get familiar with these interesting projects.

The reunion closed with a very relaxed bike tour and BBQ. But EIT Raw Materials certified courses continue, highly recommended for any student interested in the mineral raw material sector.

Next year see you in Delft!

La Palma Research Centre presents multiple projects at EGU 2017

The 2017 European Geoscience Union’s (EGU) General Assembly took place in Vienna at the Austria Centre from Monday the 24th to Friday the 28th of April. At this large geoscientific gathering, at which over 12,000 participants from academia and industry attended, La Palma Research Centre colleagues took the opportunity to exhibit and present six research and innovation projects.

On the first day of the conference, Cameron Sword opened the Energy, Resources and Environment session with an oral presentation on the European Commission’s Horizon2020 co-funded ¡VAMOS! (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System) project. During the 15 minute presentation,  Cameron explained the overall concept and technological components of ¡VAMOS!, its vision for a future of cost-efficient low-impact European mine excavation, and the results of the project to date. After the presentation, multiple questions from the audience were answered, whilst a stimulating debate ensued on the functionality of the system components.

Cameron Sword narrates an interactive video showing the operation of ¡VAMOS!

Immediately following the ¡VAMOS! presentation, Luís Lopes gave a detailed and highly technical presentation on UNEXMIN (Underwater Explorer for Flooded Mines) – a related EC H2020 project in which mining and robotics scientists are collaborating to create a world-first autonomous underwater mapping robot for use in flooded mines. Luís’ UNEXMIN presentation was highlighted as a ‘significant interest’ topic for the EGU 2017 conference, being selected as one of the most interesting to attend during the week-long conference.

Luís Lopes delves into the details of UNEXMIN during his presentation at the ERE1.1 session

Then, following an engaging presentation on the INTRAW (International Observatory for Raw Materials) project by Chris Keane from the American Geosciences Institute, LPRC’s colleague, Marco Martins gave an insightful talk on foresight methodology and raw materials case studies. Marco’s presentation focussed on work done during the ongoing MICA (Mineral Intelligence Capacity Analysis) project, including a review of data and stakeholders needs in the field of raw materials.

Marco Martins outlines the nature of the foresight case-study data used during the MICA project

As a bonus presentation during the morning ERE session, Tamás Miklovicz gave an ad hoc talk on the new H2020 CHPM2030 (Combined Heat, Power and Metal extraction) project. Concluding with an intriguing and extensive discussion from an engaged and interested audience, Tamás proceeded to hold an open poster session on Thursday afternoon on this innovative combined geothermal energy/mineral-extraction project.

Tamás Miklovicz comfortably explains CHPM to just one of many similar interested onlookers in the main hall at the Austria Centre during EGU2017

Also presented in the main hall on Thursday were the KINDRA (Knowledge Inventory for Hydrogeology Research) and La Noche de los Volcanes projects. Cseko Adrienn explained the purpose and details of the KINDRA project and the recent opening of its signature EIGR (European Inventory on Groundwater Research), whilst Ariadna Ortega took charge of La Noche de los Volcanes by explaining the statistical results and main outcomes of this four-year geoscience outreach project which was comprised of three separate sub-projects at various locations across the seven Canary Islands.

The KINDRA poster explaining the newly launched European Inventory on Groundwater Research

In short, the EGU General Assembly was a successful week of company and project dissemination and promotion, and LPRC looks forward to attending the conference again next year in Austria!

UNEXMIN’s Technology Appraisal Workshop

From the 31st of January to the 2nd of February, exactly one year since the beginning of the project, the UNEXMIN consortium held its fifth workshop at Tampere University of Technology in Tampere, Finland. Taking place at the home of partner organisation TUT, the workshop focussed on approving the technological developments of the project prior to the shortly-commencing manufacturing phase.

A live discussion on UX-1 robotics developments between technical project members

On day one, the three-day meeting began with a revision of all project Work Packages. The second day then consisted of technology appraisal discussions as well as workshops on technological developments on control systems and data conversion, dissemination strategy, together with the beginning of Work Packages 3 and 4. During these two days the advisory board members were present in the workshop and gave their valuable input to the discussion. The third and final day was dedicated to further technical discussions and decision-making on the mechanical design, sensory array, and systems testing.

Technical workshops are good places to discuss developments. Shown above is the mechanical design and sensors workshop.

Creating a novel technology system like UNEXMIN is not easy. This is why these project meetings are so important, as they create to tangible advancements from synergistic collaboration leading to the generation of new ideas. Work will now continue with the development and testing of other technical instruments. The next big step is to build the first robotic prototype – UX-1!

What will it look like? Check the last picture for a sneak-peak…

Scientific week in the Canary Islands: “Semanas de la Ciencia y la Innovación en Canarias”

LPRC is part of the “Semanas de la Ciencia y la Innovación en Canarias”, a scientific event that is occurring during this week over all the Canary Islands. Starting from yesterday to the end of the week, LPRC have three exhibitions running (KINDRA project, UNEXMIN project, CHPM project and the general Horizon2020 program) and today, tomorrow and Thursday will have presentations on the UNEXMIN project.

Today, Tuesday, LPRC received about 60 students from a scientific and technological high school from Villa de Mazo, in the island of La Palma, where the company is located. The presentation made by Luís (Project Manager in the UNEXMIN project) and Ariadna (Communications Manager) covered the most important aspects of the project that is developing a new multi-robotic system for the autonomous exploration on 3D mapping of flooded mines. Images and videos from the work that the UNEXMIN team has been developing were also shown to the audience.

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Luís and Ariadna answering questions from the young students.

The reception of the presentation was very good (both the information and the pictures and videos), with many of the youngsters being interested, asking questions and wanting to learn more about the project.

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The students that were present in the UNEXMIN presentation, on Tuesday.

The exhibitions from LPRC are located in Calle Real 21 in Los Llanos de Aridane and can be visited during the day by anyone.

 

UNEXMIN 2nd Follow-Up Meeting in Madrid

On the 25th and 26th of October, UNEXMIN partners met in Madrid for a follow-up workshop related to developments of the UX-1 robot.

The first day of this 5th UNEXMIN meeting was dedicated to an overall review of the latest steps and the status of the work packages defined in the project.

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UNEXMIN team during the Workshop

On the second day, the group present at the meeting was divided into three main work groups covering hardware, software and stakeholders topics.

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Workshop session on UX-1 mechanics

This follow-up workshop in Madrid allowed the UNEXMIN consortium to gain a greater perspective of what is being developed and the future steps that must be taken to ensure the best development for this unique and ambitious European project.

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UNEXMIN group photo

 

 

UNEXMIN follow-up meeting in Porto

UNEXMIN partners met in the beautiful city of Porto during the 28th and 29th of July.

The reason for this reunion was a UNEXMIN follow-up meeting on the project where every currently running Work Package (a block of the work breakdown structure) coordinator presented a review of the work done until now, and a planning of respective future developments.

There were also many relevant discussions on topics related to UNEXMIN’s overall advancement, such as project organisation and the development of UX-1, the multi-robotic platform.

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UNEXMIN team discussing UX-1 developments

 

UNEXMIN meeting in Tampere

From the 24th to the 26th of May, UNEXMIN partners held a meeting in Tampere, Finland.

The meeting, entitled “End-user requirement specification workshop”, aimed to define and specify the technical features of the autonomous multi-robotic explorer in order to best serve end-users who will enlist UX-1’s services in the future.

Discussions included everything from the robot’s size, weight, shape, its autonomy, navigation, survivability under harsh conditions such as underground mines, to the instruments it will carry for geological data collection and post-processing on its future missions.

Discussion during the technical workshop

Discussion during the technical workshop

UNEXMIN meeting at the Deep Ecton mine

UNEXMIN consortium members visited the Deep Ecton mine, one of the copper mines located in Ecton Hill, Staffordshire (near Manchester), UK.

Deep Ecton will be the last and most technologically challenging test site (from a total of four) for the UX-1 multi-platform robot’s surveying work.

Adrienn and Luis participated in the meeting on behalf of LPRC.

UNEXMIN group studying actual conditions for UX-1 at Deep Ecton

UNEXMIN representatives studying analogue operating conditions for UX-1 at Deep Ecton

Events

UNEXMIN & ¡VAMOS! joint workshop

The UNEXMIN & ¡VAMOS! projects will organize a joint workshop during the 30th of January, in Bled, Slovenia. The workshop will consist of a plenary meeting and workshops. The LPRC team* will have an important contribution: it will develop research roadmap exercises for both projects. The registration is open for everyone interested!

*Edine Bakker, Luís Lopes, Tamas Miklovicz

Raw Materials Week, 2017

The European Raw Materials week is going to be organised, for the second time, in Brussels between 6-11 of November. It will be a great opportunity for the raw materials community to discuss and exchange on all relevant issues: policy, technology, international cooperation, framework conditions, and many more. Most of our team members will be present!