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ROBOMINERS Consortium Meeting, Tallinn

It was in Tallinn, Estonia, that the ROBOMINERS project partners were brought together to discuss the current state of this H2020 project as well as to prepare the future steps in the development of the bio-inspired robot for mining mineral deposits that are small or difficult to access. If successful, ROBOMINERS technology could shape the future of the mineral exploration and exploitation industries and at large adapt the raw materials sector to more sustainable practices.

The meeting in Tallinn, held on the 14th and 15th of January 2020, kickstarted on the first day with a revision of the project’s technical work packages. From Robotics to Raw Materials the ROBOMINERS partners discussed a number of topics that are likely to shape the current and future development of the project’s main concept: to develop a robot that can mine in difficult environments in flooded conditions. After these, technical sessions showed light on the main topics of the project. Here, partners could discuss and contribute to more specific robotics and raw materials items. Examples include the use of legged locomotion as a means of robotic movement or the most adequate geological environments and commodities to be mined with the Robotminer.

On the second day the ROBOMINERS team had a “Workshop on bio-inspired legged locomotion” with presentations based on Robotics developments made by the consortium partners. Then, LPRC hosted its own foresight activity: a Horizon Scanning exercise – where the company members tried to lay the current state-of-play and future developments in key specific areas within the robotics and raw materials fields, in an interactive exercise with the ROBOMINERS internal experts. The results of this exercise will allow the LPRC team to better prepare and adapt the remaining foresight tasks envisaged for WP8 – Active roadmapping and clustering.

Now it is time for the LPRC team to process the results and further involve experts to guide the project technological development in the future.

ROBOMINERS/UNEXMIN Joint Workshop, Amsterdam

Luís Lopes, responsible for Communication and dissemination in UNEXMIN and for Roadmapping in ROBOMINERS, went from the LPRC side to a joint workshop that brough together three projects to discuss and share ideas on development. PIPEBOTS joined the two above mentioned projects.

Talks and discussions on robotics-related topics made the core of the debate. The specific areas of discussion worked around: 1) Robotics, 2) Sensing, 3) SLAM/Navigation and 4) Communications.

LPRC took this opportunity to give a first step in the ROBOMINERS roadmapping process. One of the main tasks of roadmapping is to create clusters with other ongoing projects. This was achieved by sharing information on ROBOMINERS and collecting information on the other two projects. A follow-up will be next step and the aim is to share information on common challenges and possible approaches.

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.

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