UNEXMIN Final Project Meeting, Brussels

LPRC participated at the final UNEXMIN Project Meeting, held in Brussels, on the 25th of September. This meeting was scheduled one month before the end of the project, so the team has the time to finalise details and wrap-up results and outcomes of this success story, which LPRC helped to build.

To the one-day final project meeting call the consortium answered with a total of 40 participants from all the 12 partner representatives. The morning sessions were dedicated to present the current state of the project as well as to what the future holds for UNEXMIN, but most importantly for the UX-1 unique technology. For the latter, there are already good news: a joint company was created to exploit the project’s technology – meet UNEXMIN GeoRobotics!

During the afternoon two different meetings were held: one Advisory Board meeting and a Steering Committee meeting. In both councils the discussions worked mostly around the future exploitation possibilities for the UNEXMIN technology and how the project itself is seen as a success story in the raw materials and robotics panorama.

The UNEXMIN project officially ends on the 31st of October, but there is still a lot to do. Wrapping-up results, finalising reports and documents and prepare the future are just some of the tasks ahead for this month.

LPRC is very happy and grateful to be part of such an interesting project and consortium, having contributed to different relevant aspects such as communication & dissemination, technology roadmapping and future exploitation.

UNEXMIN Final Conference, Brussels

It was on the 26th of September 2019 that the UNEXMIN project organised its Final Conference to showcase its results and outputs to a group stakeholders ranging from the raw materials community to robotics, not forgetting the policy makers that connect these areas. LPRC took part in the organisation of the event, where among talks and presentations on UNEXMIN and related topics, the UX-1 robot could be saw in action.

This event was a great way to disseminate and communicate the UNEXMIN’s project final results and outcomes, part of the work that were leaded by LPRC since the beginning of the project, as per WP 8 – Dissemination, Technology Transfer and Exploitation. An extensive promotion campaign formulated by our team made  the presence of around 70 people and one robot – UNEXMIN’s own UX-1 robot – at the venue (Nemo 33, Brussels) a reality.

The agenda, prepared to deliver important content to the UNEXMIN’s stakeholders and to make the bridge between them and European policies, counted with talks and presentations on diverse topics, a rooundtable discussion on the future of raw materials and robotics, and, a live demonstration of the UX-1 robot, one of the main outputs of this EU project. The main sessions of the day, are as follows (the whole program can be seen here):

1 – Morning session: setting the political context: the future of mining in Europe
2 –
Afternoon session I: Raw materials & mining (UNEXMIN project presentations)
3 – Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities (UNEXMIN project presentations)
4 – Afternoon round table – Mineral exploration, future and long-term initiatives
5 – UX-1 robot showcase (live demo)

After the success that was this event, as suggested by the approval of UNEXMIN’s stakeholders, it is now time to start packing the final results and outcomes. The UNEXMIN project ends on the 31st of October and, up to that date, the partners still need to finalise their work. This is also true for LPRC, responsible to deliver, among others, a research roadmap for the future of the UNEXMIN technology.

The UNEXMIN team would like to thank everyone that attended the Final Conference. Videos, photos and the presentations of made during the day will be available on the project website soon.

Are you looking for a new experience?

Science Communication Internship with La Palma Research Centre

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a new enthusiastic social media-savvy intern! By spending an internship with us you will get an inside scope on what it is like to work on international EU research projects in one (or both) of our offices located on the Canary Islands and Brussels.

Your tasks will mainly concern preparing and developing graphic visual content for our reports and the communication of our research results through our websites and social media pages, including the ones of projects. You will need to communicate your findings clearly internally with your colleagues during team meetings and in written reports as well as take up and translate your colleagues’ ideas to the outside world. We are a small company with a dynamic and flexible work environment, so you will have a chance to get involved in many of our other daily tasks and activities as well. Our wide range of research topics and activities requires being able to learn by doing, to work both independently and as part of a team and to have a positive `can-do` attitude.


A student or recent graduate in geosciences or a related field, with an interest in science communication and visualizations techniques, with:

  • Ability to understand and translate complex science into simple concepts and write about scientific research to general audiences in an engaging and accurate manner;
  • A bit of Technology geek & Social media native;
  • Good writing and editing skills in English;
  • Proactive and solution focussed;
  • Good command of Spanish is an advantage.

Practical Information & Application

This is a 3 month unpaid internship with the possibility of a 3 month extension. There might be a possibility for full-time employment afterwards. We would prefer you to start in November 2019. The candidates shall be preferably based in the vicinity of Brussels or a citizen of another European Member state and willing to invest in the necessary move to Belgium.

Does this sound like you and are you ready for a little adventure? For more information or to express your interest, send your application package CV and a motivation letter to: career@lapalmacentre.eu with the reference “Science Communication Intern” in the subject line. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide two writing samples and/or visual material (each no more than 2 pages long) that demonstrate ability to communicate science to a wider audience (blog posts, magazine or newspaper articles, press releases, infographics, etc.). Application deadline is 1st of October.  All applications will be treated confidentially but only applications that meet the required skills and qualifications will be contacted.

Do you want to join the team?

Junior Project Manager position

Who we are looking for

The Junior Project Manager will work on European research projects assisting the work of Project Managers on daily basis, with increasing responsibility over time on the coordination and execution of projects’ tasks.  We are searching for candidates with a ‘can-do’ approach and creative mindset. The main tasks foreseen are the following:

  • Providing input (e.g. literature review, policy analysis) related to technology road mapping tasks and foresight analysis;
  • Assisting in the preparation for workshops & meetings organised by the company (often leading group work and prepare follow-up summaries);
  • Participation at project meetings and workshops (various places in Europe) and preparation of minutes, blog  posts and news for social media;
  • Supporting several projects’ tasks including preparation of project reports and communication with internal and external parties on related activities.

Relevant skills

The “must-haves”:

  • Academic degree (Bachelor or MSc) in geology, mining engineering, geological engineering, applied geosciences or a related technological discipline;
  • Good analytical, writing and presentation skills (in English);
  • Proactive, solution focussed mentality and with the ability to multi-task and work both independently & as part of a team.


  • Research interest in robotics and information technologies related to raw materials exploration and extraction and/or in business economics , economic and strategic forecasting studies and tools;
  • Outlook on European policies on raw materials; international raw materials diplomacy is an advantage;
  • Basic knowledge of website editing (WordPress).

What We Offer

  • A dynamic working environment as part of our young, multidisciplinary and international team;
  • A competitive compensation and benefits package (that includes travel and accommodation support for the time spent in our HQ, in La Palma);
  • Opportunity to start your career in the EU project development and management field.

How to apply

Complete applications should consist of a motivation letter and CV (both in English) and  should be addressed as a single file to career@lapalmacentre.eu with a quoting reference “Junior Project Manager” in the subject line. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide contact details of two referees (e.g. school or traineeship contacts) and will be interviewed online, or in person, if possible. Application deadline is 11th of September with interviews happening during the week of 16-20th of September. All applications will be treated confidentially but only applications that meet the required skills and qualifications will be contacted.

Practical information

This is a full-time position, to start in November 2019 in the Brussels representation office and will be subject to a 3-month probation period. The candidates shall be preferably based in the vicinity of Brussels or a citizen of another European Member state and willing to invest in the necessary move to Belgium. A few weeks of stay at the company HQ in La Palma is envisaged. Occasional teleworking is subject to agreement.

AGEO Kick-off meeting, Lisbon

The AGEO project kick-off meeting was held in Lisbon, at Instituto Superior Técnico, home of the project’s coordinator institution, on the 4th and 5th of July, with a field trip to showcase some examples of possible risks to be reported by the Lisbon multihazards pilot on the 6th. AGEO – Platform for Atlantic Geohazard Risk Management – will be launching several Citizens’ Observatory pilots on geohazards according to regional priorities. To do this, the project brings together partner institutions from 5 countries of the Atlantic area: Portugal, Spain, France, UK and Ireland. LPRC is one of the representatives from Spain and is leading WP2 – Communication.

The two days meeting started with an overview of the objectives and the roadmap to fulfill those; a review of each WP got the partners on the same page. Discussions on Citizens’ Observatories, Copernicus services and the Pilots within AGEO, crucial for the project development and goals, marked the remaining discussions of Day 1. Ariadna Ortega presented LPRC’s view for the Communication work package.

During the second day, a detailed overview and discussion on each WP’s activities and planning allowed the participants to know what to to, where to contribute and when to do it. Again, Ariadna Ortega, introduced LPRC’s ideas to the consortium. It is important that every partner contributes to the project development in every aspect – and the AGEO team understands that.

Besides the two-days discussion, a field visit was organised on Saturday by the Municipality, to show Lisbon’s most vulnerable spot that served as an example of the risks that could be reported by the citizens during the Observatory. This site showcased the project’s potential to the consortium and stakeholders alike.

LPRC is glad to be part of this consortium and will do their best to help the project achieve its objectives!

CHPM2030 project closure

CHPM2030 Final meeting

The CHPM2030 project partners met in Lillafüred, Hungary, for the last Consortium meeting, hosted by the coordinator, University of Miskolc. On the first day the six WP leaders presented the final outcomes and the status of deliverables. Tamas Miklovicz from LPRC presented WP6 – Roadmapping and preparation for pilots and the CHPM Roadmap and recommendations for future research projects (view Prezi slideshow here). Two brainstorming sessions were held, with similar aims: on the first, Tamás Madarász, coordinator from UNIM, facilitated a discussion regarding “Potential for follow-up; How to proceed?”, and the partners discussed each technological components and evaluated whether it shall proceed as a complete CHPM look or as individual components, considering opportunities and threats. The second session was about “Preparation for the pilots, potential funding sources, future projects”. It reviewed each work packages within the project for ideas, funding opportunities, research topics, and the continuation of CHPM technology. Project reporting and financial issues were also discussed in the afternoon.

On the second day, the partners visited the Miskolc geothermal district heating system and its infrastructure (offices, heat exchangers, production/injection wells). The host, PannErgy, introduced the geological, geothermal and engineering aspects of the system.

As of June 30th, the working period of the project officially finished, and now the team is working on the project technical and financial reporting. LPRC is responsible to provide the technical reporting of the whole of WP6.

The objectives of WP6 – Roadmapping and preparation for pilots

The CHPM technology is a low-TRL, novel and disruptive but fragile idea, that needs further nurturing and future oriented thinking. Work Package 6 represents these forward-looking efforts and aims to set the ground for subsequent pilot implementation by working on three interlinked areas: mapping convergent technology areas (linked to CHPM exploration, development, operation and market), study potential pilot areas and develop future research roadmaps.These three areas are grouped under the WP6 subtasks: Task 6.1 Horizon scanning & Visions; Task 6.2 Preparation for pilots; Task 6.3 Roadmapping. The work of WP6, including the 3 sub-tasks has been implemented thanks to the coordination and facilitation of LPRC, with the involvement of all Partners, Advisory Board members and external Experts. WP6 ran since December 2017.

Task 6.1 Horizon Scanning and Visions 

Recently, the two main activities in this task were: the 2nd round of the CHPM2030 Delphi survey and the Visioning workshop.

The Delphi survey was a 2 round, expert input based foresight tool, that was completed by 133 participants, worldwide. All Partners received and completed both rounds. Partners, especially EFG and UNIM, used their professional network and channels (website, social media, newsletters) to invite participants. The survey built on the results of the Horizon Scanning exercise, and the 2nd round incorporated the results from the 1st, so participants could re-evaluate their feedback. The survey provided insight about important, but uncertain areas in the future, while mapping convergent technology areas and emerging issues. The results have been processed by LPRC, and were used to define discussion topics and issues for theVisioning workshop.

The CHPM2030 Visioning workshop brought together Consortium partners (ISOR, VITO, KUL, UNIM, EFG, LPRC (methodology & host), BGS) and external Experts (industry, academia), from both geothermal and mineral sectors. The participant selection was based on constructive contribution in the Delphi survey, and partner’s recommendations. The one-day workshop included an introduction with presentations, two group sessions and a plenary. The group sessions focused on setting up targets related to already identified aspects of the technology (exploration, development, operation, market), based on previous results and expert judgement. The last session was about consensus building, where the facilitators presented the group’s results and an agreement was formed about the established targets. 

The results from the Horizon Scanning exercise, Delphi survey and Visioning workshop have been processed and synthesized into Deliverable 6.1 Report on Emerging and Converging technologies, related to the future of CHPM technology.

Task 6.2 Preparation for pilots

This subtask had three activities in the recent period: finalising the evaluation template, evaluating study areas, and creation of an EU spatial database on prospective locations. 

The first step for this task was the creation of the evaluation template (with the help of BGS, LNEG, IGR, SGU, UNIM, facilitated by LPRC) through online meetings, email communication, field trips and a workshop. This served as a “checklist” for important characteristics to consider when looking into CHPM potential. During the creation of the evaluation strategy, a field trip in Romania was organised by IGR (BGS, UNIM, LPRC, participated), following the previous Cornwall field trip (22-24th of May 2018) organised by BGS. A strong emphasis was given to 3D modelling and to compile all available geological information at one place for reinterpretation.

The 5 study areas from 4 countries have been evaluated according to this new strategy, investigating the CHPM potential. With the help of these study reports and the European outlook study, the following items have been clarified: 1) the information available at each area, 2) the CHPM potential based on this geoscientific data, 3) remaining gaps to be overcome in the future. The evaluated areas are Cornwall in South West England by BGS, Portuguese Iberian Pyrite Belt by LNEG, Beius Basin and Bihor Mountains in Romania by IGR, Nautanen and Kristineberg in Sweden by SGU.

The 5 study areas from 4 countries have been evaluated according to this new strategy, investigating the CHPM potential. With the help of these study reports and the European outlook study, the following items have been clarified: 1) the information available at each area, 2) the CHPM potential based on this geoscientific data, 3) remaining gaps to be overcome in the future. The evaluated areas are Cornwall in South West England by BGS, Portuguese Iberian Pyrite Belt by LNEG, Beius Basin and Bihor Mountains in Romania by IGR, Nautanen and Kristineberg in Sweden by SGU.

The British Geological Survey staff (Paul A J Lusty, Richard B Haslam, Richard A Shaw, Eimear A Deady, Paul Williamson) produced a c. 160 page detailed report on SW England. This worked with information sources reported in WP1, and also new information coming out of the ongoing geothermal investigations in SW England (e.g. the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project, and also the GWatt project). A detailed reappraisal of the data was undertaken. In summary, the report considered the availability of geoscience information, the geological environment, geothermal characteristics, potential for deep metal enrichment, and technical, environmental, social and regulatory factors that could influence the future development of CHPM extraction technology in the region. Preliminary modelling of the Cornubian Batholith has been undertaken to improve understanding of its properties relevant to geothermal energy development. A regional model was constructed to understand the spatial relationship of key geological parameters. These data was used for the development of two site-scale models that aimed to improve understanding of the fracture network and flow pathways at the reservoir-scale. South-west England, and specifically Cornwall, is an excellent location for a pilot-scale CHPM system. 

The report on the Portuguese Iberian Pyrite Belt (~50 pages), prepared by the Portuguese National Laboratory of Energy and Geology (Elsa Cristina Ramalho, João Xavier Matos, João Gameira Carvalho), evaluated the Variscan metallogenic province, massive sulphide deposits, prospect for deep mineralization for CHPM potential. The study area report provided an update on the geoscientific data and information on SW IPB, 3D modeling (focused on the Neves-Corvo Mine) and geophysical data. The future research programmes should investigate the deeper ore deposits, with 3D/4D modeling, new deep seismics, 3D electromagnetic forward modeling and 3D inversion. The Lombador orebody, which is present at 2-3 km, has the potential to extend the lifetime of the mine with CHPM technology. Strong cooperation with the mining company that is exploiting the mine and the Portuguese government is recommended.

The report from Romania (~80 pages), developed by Geological Institute of Romania (Diana Perșa, Ștefan Marincea, Delia Dumitraș, Cătălin Simion), provided information about the CHPM potential of the Beius Basin (up and running geothermal heating system, Mg skarns, high geothermal potential), and the Bihor Mountains (granodiorite- granite plutonic body related, skarn (Fe, Bo, Bi, Mo, W), vein (Cu, Zn, Pb, sulphides). IGR has also developed a new 3D geological model, compiling all available geoscientific information of the study area. The future recommendations on this area describe new geothermal models (150 Celsius), refraction seismic for the plutonic body and mineral indications and fracture network modeling for understanding reservoir characteristics.

The Swedish report (~70 pages), delivered by Geological Survey of Sweden (Gerhard Schwarz, Benno Kathol, Magnus Ripa, Bo Thunholm, Edward P Lynch, Johan Jönberger), described 2 ore provinces: Kristineberg area (Skellefte district, volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits, Zn, Cu, Au), and Nautanen area (Northern Norrbotten district, IOCG, Cu, Fe, Au). The challenges here are the low geothermal gradient, limited information at 5-7 km depth, low permeability and hydraulic conductivity and lack of information about deep-seated fluids. It is recommended that future exploration includes identification of metal bearing formation at crustal depths (seismic velocities, electrical resistivity), 3D/4D modelling, stimulation, involvement of the mining industry and ER regional development funds, achieving public acceptance, among others.

Besides evaluating concrete study areas, the European Federation of Geologist (Domenico Marchese, Anita Demény, Isabel Fernandez) led the European outlook for prospective locations, with the help of the its National Associations that are involved in the project as Linked Third Parties (LTPs). In total there were 24 countries covered: Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Sweden, the United Kingdom. Each National Association had 3 tasks: 1) Area selection: definition of areas most likely to be a future CHPM candidate; 2. Basic area evaluation: the task continued with the evaluation of the basic characteristics of the selected areas; 3) CHPM characteristics: this task considered a deeper investigation and data evaluation of the most likely CHPM sites. EFG and LPRC provided instructions and templates for the LTPs and organised an orientation workshop, so they were full up to date with the task. Through continuous communication with the LTPs, EFG collected the 3 reports for most countries, describing the 3 tasks mentioned above. The result is a selection of areas that has potential for future CHPM application, which has been uploaded to a publicly available spatial database: http://bit.ly/CHPMinfoplatform.

Task 6.3 Roadmapping

This subtask had three future-oriented activities related to 2030 and 2050 time horizons, building different layers of the CHPM roadmap:  1) CHPM component roadmap, 2) Preparation for future Pilots, 3) Overall concept of CHPM. The objective of Task 6.3 was to provide a timeline and direct support for the implementation of CHPM and support breakthrough research. These activities were building on the results of the Task 6.1 and 6.2 and all Partners, AB members and external Experts have been involved in this process. Each layer provided recommendations about how to advance the area and support future pilot implementation. 

The “CHPM component roadmap” provides a direct follow-up of the current technological components, by describing the state-of-the-art (2019: current state of the component, achievements, results during the project, referenced to the relevant deliverable), immediate research plan (2025: next actions, targets to continue the research on the technological component after the project), pilot research plan (2030: requirements of the component before integrating it into a CHPM pilot application), and long term objectives (2050: requirements of the component before integrating it into a CHPM commercial application). The technological components and the researchers working on the roadmap are the following: Integrated reservoir management (Szanyi János, Máté Osvald, Tamás Medgyes, University of Szeged); Metal content mobilization using mild leaching (Christopher Rochelle, BGS); Metal content mobilization with nanoparticles (Steven Mullens, VITO); High-temperature and high-pressure (HTHP) electrolytic metal recovery (Ramasamy Palaniappan, Jan Fransaer, KU Leuven, Xochitl Dominguez-Benetton, VITO); Metal recovery via gas-diffusion electrocrystallization (GDEx), (Xochitl Dominguez-Benetton, VITO); Salinity-gradient power by reverse electrodialysis (SGP-RE) (Joost Helsen, VITO); System integration (Árni Ragnarsson, ISOR).

The “Preparation for future pilots” study investigated the pathway to pilot implementation by 2030, by providing a detailed area description and future recommendations. This task was completed at 5 areas in Europe by their representing partner (Cornwall by BGS, Iberian Pyrite Belt by LNEG, Beius Basin/Bihor Mountains by IGR, Kristineberg and Nautanen by SGU). The recommendations covered 1) future exploration plans for the technological components (getting new geoscientific information, exploration methods and tools to obtain relevant information regarding the technological components (outlined in the evaluation template), 2) funding opportunities (EU funds projects, PPP, private investors, other financing) and 3) Stakeholder engagement (involved parties, end users, stakeholders, policy and regulatory issues).

 “Overall concept of CHPM” study investigated the feasibility of combining geothermal energy and mineral extraction with the use of foresight tools such as Horizon Scanning, Delphi survey and Expert workshops. The emerging issues were split into four main themes (CHPM exploration, development, operation, market). These topics and their subtopics were delivered and refined through the foresight exercises in WP6.

The Roadmapping workshop was the continuation of the Visioning workshop with the involvement of the Consortium partners  and external Experts. The main task of the group work were the validation of previously identified targets (vision) and the backcasting exercise itself (actions). After the workshop, LPRC processed the results, and presented the findings in D6.3, a document about the recommendations on targets, actions, signposts, wildcards linked to exploration, development, operation, and market, including a visualisation for each theme.

The CHPM WP leaders are going to meet one more time at the project review meeting at GeoHub, Brussels in the end of August.

Download and read our reports under the following buttons.

UNEXMIN Consortium meeting, Budapest

LPRC member Luís Lopes recently participated in the UNEXMIN Consortium workshop in Budapest, on the 24 and 25th of June, where the UNEXMIN partners discussed the current state of the technology, the final steps of the UNEXMIN project and the vision and objectives for the future. Discussion and preparation for the field trials at the Molnár János Cave also took place.

The two days event started with discussion on the navigation and autonomy features of the UX-1 robot. Here the technical teams discussed the state-of-the-art of the UNEXMIN technology and the improvements that they need to see to better manage navigation and the crucial autonomy component. After this session, the team focused on the geoscientific evaluation that will need to arise from the data obtained during the different trials. Providing relevant geoscientific data, that cannot be obtained in any other way is the motto of the UNEXMIN technology – the one item that will prove the technology to be of use. The first day finished with a short discussion on the final UNEXMIN conference and its planning – registration is open and free for everyone: https://www.unexmin.eu/unexmin-final-conference/

The second day began with a presentation on the remaining project deliverables, and it continued with interactive debate on future possibilities for the innovative solution. In the afternoon the partners travelled to the Molnár János cave, place where the next and final UNEXMIN field trial will take place, and started the preparations of the testing.

LPRC contributed to discussions on the geosientific data evalutation and preparation as well as relevant input for the remaining period of the UNEXMIN project (until 31st of October) and the future applications of the technology in the market. Glad to be active part in this project!

Constructing Social Futures conference, Turku

Constructing Social Futures – Sustainability, Responsibility and Power conference took place between 12-13th of June in Turku, Finland, bringing together the foresight community. The theme was the concept of agency in action and research for futures. ‘Constructing Futures’ emphasizes opportunities and challenges related to the need for building and critically evaluating capabilities necessary for sustainable futures. This conference created a cross-disciplinary platform where participants could meet, share, and discuss new ideas concerning social futures. These two days consisted of keynote lectures, parallel sessions, participatory workshops and chaired poster session, from multidisciplinary topics.

The fist keynote presentation was held by Dr. Ivana Milojević (Metafuture) about the Power for, against, with and within: Futures studies as practice. Ivana’s set the tone for the conference with her passionate talk addressing two central questions: “Can futures studies, as a practice, make a difference?”, and “To what extent are futures being constructed through participation that reflects moral agency and leads to better futures for all?”. The second keynote presentation was given by Professor Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh) about the Heritage Futures: Tradition, Gain, Sustainability. The afternoon continued with 7 paralel sessions for ~15 minute presentations on topics such as Combining corporate foresight with corporate social responsibility and Citizen science, power, responsibility and foresight.

LPRC was represented by Tamas Miklovicz, who gave a presentation about the Application of foresight methods in the research of a disruptive geothermal technology (CHPM), in the session on Foresight activities and their effect on sustainability transitions. The presentation was focusing on the methodological aspect of how to make use of foresight tools for such a challenging technology. The presentation was well received and participants appreciated the robust methodology behind the CHPM roadmapping process. You can have a look at Tamas’s presentation in  the video below:

The second day continued with sessions and workshops on topics like Back to the futures we want: Envisioning and backcasting for Sustainable futures, and Utopias to combat futures by-negation, and The roles of futures studies in the negotiation of values and desired futures. The event was concluded with two keynote presentations. First Professor Keri Facer talked about All our futures? Climate change, democracy and missing public spaces. The second was given by Professor Ted Fuller On responsible futures: What can we do, what should we do?

All keynote speakers were donated a ~3 hectare peatland in Finland. Peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store, and among the most important ecosystems on Earth*, also helping us to reduce carbon footprint of the anthropocene.

You can read the Book of Abstract here and you may rediscover the event on Twitter following the #futuresconference2019.

The Futures Conference 2019 was very inspiring! Many great ideas have been shared, discussed and agreed about building a more sustainable future. After the conference, arriving home, the real question remains: are we going to plant these seeds into our everyday life to nurture a sustainable future? We all hope that we do indeed, throughout our everyday decisions.


RoboMiners Kick-off meeting, Madrid

The 13th and 14th of June the Politechnical University of Madrid hosted the kick-off meeting of the newly started Robominers project.

ROBOMINERS will develop a bio-inspired, modular and reconfigurable robot-miner for small and difficult to access deposits and presents a solution for reopening many of Europe’s abandoned underground mines, without the need for a full recommissioning and in particular without the need for dewatering the mine. Under this application scenario it will be possible to resume mining exactly where it was abandoned in the past, which may have been several hundreds of years ago, turn the mine into a profitable business and produce sufficient revenues to cover the costs of a full-scale remediation of any environmental pollution from the past.

The consortium is formed by 14 outstanding members with the coordination of the Politechnical University of Madrid and includes the University of Tampere, University of Miskolc, University of Leoben, the European Federation of Geologists, the Belgian Royal Institute of Natural Sciences, Assimagra, the Geological Survey of Slovenia, Resources Computing International, GeoMontan, the Tallin University of Technology, the Mineral and Energy Economic Research Institute of Poland, K-Utec and, of course, La Palma Research.

During the kick-off meeting the novel idea of a bio-inspired resilient mining robot was discussed and the concept of the project was defined amongst all members.

LPRC lead Work Package 8, Active roadmapping & clusters and collaborates in almost all other Work Packages, but most actively in Work Package 10 Dissemination and Outreach.

UNEXMIN presented at AIMS 2019, Aachen

On the 13th and 14th of June, during the AIMS – Aachen International Mining Symposia – 2019, Luís Lopes, from LPRC, gave a talk about the development and current state of the UNEXMIN, under the Second International Conference “Mines of the future”. UNEXMIN is developing an exploration technology that might be part of a vision where mines are innovative and sustainable.

The two days event counted with numerous personnel from academia, research, industry and governmental bodies, all interested or involved in mining and related topics. There has been a number of keynote talks and presentations, divided into sessions and a panel discussion, fostering dialogue on the different emerging topics.

The first day started with three keynote talks about the sustainability of mining in the present and future, and on the current best practices. Six main sessions succeeded, with 4 to 5 presentations per session:

  1. Science: Tailings & Mine wastes
  2. Technology: Digitalisation
  3. Science: Methods & measurements
  4. Science: Mining challenges
  5. Technology: Equipment & methods
  6. Innovation: Modelling

The UNEXMIN project was introduced under session 5 – Technology: Equipment & methods, by Luís Lopes: “Re-exploring flooded mines: the UNEXMIN unique robotic solution”. The talk was well received by the audience, which showed big interest in a number of questions that focused on the technology as well as on policy aspects on its application.

On the second day, two parallel sessions kickstarted discussions: 1) Technology: Resource extraction and 2) Technology: New systems. A unique session on “Responsibility: Engagement and closure” ended the talks of the conference, right before the final panel discussion on the “Mines of the future need to be different from those of today!”.

Posters sessions and exhibitions of mining companies completed a very innovative and interesting event. The network possibilities with partners from different areas of the globe and the raw materials value chain were also very welcome.

It was a great pleasure that LPRC and the UNEXMIN project was represented in an important discussions about the present and future of mining activities, spanning through all the value chain, from exploration to exploitation and even to mine closure and remediation.

LPRC is actively taking part of a change that is already ongoing!