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UNEXUP Consortium Meeting, Ljubljana, July 2022

The UNEXUP project partners met in Ljubljana – Slovenia, as well as online, for the 5th progress meeting. The hybrid event was held on 5 and 6 July 2022, with the purpose of discussing what has been achieved in the past semester (since the last Progress Meeting in January 2022), and to plan the activities to be completed until the end of the project – in December 2022.

The meeting started with a clustering workshop between the UNEXUP, ROBOMINERS and Pipebots projects. After that, the Work Package leaders presented their work, followed by short discussions about the covered topics – which closed the first day of the event. On the 6th of July the meetings resumed with open discussions about post-processing of underwater images, the draft agenda of the UNEXUP Final Conference, as well as a visit to the facilities of the partner – and host of the event – GeoZS (Geological Survey of Slovenia).

In this opportunity, LPRC (portrayed by Marcio Tameirão) presented the progress of Work Package 4: Communication, dissemination and outreach, which it leads. The talk covered the updates on the main tasks, such as communication and dissemination management; production of outreach materials; and collaboration with the promotion of UGR (UNEXMIN GeoRobotics) services, the commercialization partner in UNEXUP. The main topic of discussions was the UNEXUP Final Conference, which is planned to happen in November 2022 – in Brussels, Belgium. The partners reviewed the draft agenda that was presented, and jointly made improvements – which will be further discussed in the upcoming months.

This event was the last official Progress Meeting before the UNEXUP Final Conference. In the next months there will be further robotic developments and field missions, and you can stay tuned by following UNEXUP on social media and through the project website!

ROBOMINERS Consortium and Review meeting, Brussels, 29, 30 June and 1 July 2022

The ROBOMINERS consortium met in the capital of Europe, Brussels, for the most recent project meeting, which was coupled with a field visit and a review meeting with the European Commission-related personnel.

The meeting agenda started with a field trip to the South of Belgium to see the ROBOMINERS prototype in action in the field on 29 June, where the project partners had the chance to see the prototype (currently in development) in action.

On the following day, 30 June, the consortium members got together to discuss the state of project – with a review on the past, present and future status of all the operating Work Packages. La Palma Research Centre presented WP8 – Active roadmapping and Clustering, providing a view on the clustering activities and the many foresight actions towards future ROBOMINERS roadmaps. In the afternoon, which was dedicated to internal workshops and discussion groups, LPRC organised a visioning workshop with the participation of several project members. Data obtained from this interactive exercise will be used for implementation of the Work Package 8 foresight methodology.

On the 1st of July it was time for the Review meeting with the European Commission. The Work Packages leaders presented the work done and answered the questions and doubts put forwarded by the reviewers. Luís Lopes from LPRC represented Work Package 8.

Work within ROBOMINERS will now continue with technological development and integration into the prototype, aiming at the field tests of 2023. This work will be supported by foresight analysis developed and implemented by LPRC and ethical, environmental and economical analysis made by other project partners.

Follow the project through its website and social media to be up to date with ROBOMINERS developments!

LPRC members participate in a joint Clustering workshop with PIPEBOTS/UNEXUP/ROBOMINERS

La Palma Research Centre participated in a recent tri-project clustering event. The clustering action, mainl developed by the PIPEBOTS project with help from the UNEXUP and ROBOMINERS projects (where LPRC is a partner), focused on robotics-related discussions, especially with the use of robotics in harsh environments.

Prior to the clustering event, thematic videos on the three projects were submitted in advance for consultation. The videos worked around presenting the projects and connected to specific themes such as Communications and power, Autonomy, and Navigation. A total of twenty-two participants were present to discuss the projects and robotics themes. LPRC was represented by two members.

This Clustering event, after an interesting debate, showcased that there are development and implementation issues common to the three projects and that a good way to move forward is to join forces and share best ideas. There is also the possibility to organise a new joint clustering and dissemination event for further collaboration.

LPRC is co-responsible for the Clustering actions within the ROBOMINERS project and leads the Communication and Dissemination efforts in UNEXUP.

Call for experts – ROBOMINERS Delphi Survey

The LPRC team would like to invite you to answer to the ROBOMINERS Delphi Survey Round 2 as an expert in mining / geosciences topics: https://webgate.acceptance.ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/ROBOMINERSDelphiSurvey2ndRound.

The ROBOMINERS Delphi Survey presents a series of statements about the future (2050) on topics relevant for the vision and implementation of its technology line. You, as a participant, are invited to freely comment and express opinion on those topics.

In particular, this Survey is the 2nd round of the Delphi Survey which builds upon the comments and statistics made by the experts in Round 1. You can find the statistics and highlights from the previous Round here. This will be the last round and after all data is collected from experts it will be processed and a final document with the results will be produced.

The ROBOMINERS concept

Participation in the survey takes approximately 30 minutes and your answers will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous.

Thank you for your help!

About Delphi Surveys

The Delphi survey was originally developed as a technological forecasting technique, which aimed at reaching consensus over relevant technological developments. Nowadays, Delphi Surveys have expanded into a variety of modified approaches. However, at its core, the Delphi method stands out as a reliable method in situations where individual judgements must be elicited and combined to address an incomplete state of knowledge. The Delphi method is based on anonymous opinions of experts who are fed back the results of a round-based survey, allowing these experts to rethink their judgement and converge to consensus over key identified areas.

LPRC contributes to the 4th UNEXUP Progress meeting

The UNEXUP consortium had the opportunity to meet in person for the first time since the kick-off-meeting of the project, held in Budapest, Hungary, in early February 2020. During this period of time, three Progress Meetings were held online, due to the travel restrictions and different phases related to the ongoing pandemic that Europe is facing.

The 4th Progress Meeting took place in Porto, Portugal, on 25-26 January 2022, hosted by the partner INESC TEC. The event was hybrid, and the attendance comprised participants both in person and in virtual mode. The first day of the event was initiated with welcome words and practicalities by the UNEXUP Coordinator Norbert Zajzon, followed by a short presentation about general aspects of the project. After that, the Work Package (WP) leaders were invited to present the progress and future steps of their activities.

LPRC is the leader of WP4 – Communication, dissemination and outreach, whose tasks are related to the communication & dissemination management, development and maintenance of the outreach tools, and raising market interest. In this context, Márcio Tameirão presented the past, current, and future activities and tools to support the work plan. In addition, LPRC’s work in WPs 0 (Market strategy and business development portfolio) and 2 (Pilots) were also reflected in their respective presentations. This session was followed by an open discussion and input from the Advisory Board of the project.

The UNEXUP Final Conference will be held in Brussels, Belgium, and LPRC will provide support related to organization and planning of the agenda and venue. It will be a great opportunity to showcase the robot and engage with stakeholders and potential customers of the exploration service in the final months of the project.

Follow the project on the website for more news.

ROBOMINERS Consortium Meeting with LPRC in Austria

The ROBOMINERS Consortium, in which LPRC participates, hosted its first in-person meeting in almost 2 years. Between the 16 and 18 of November 2021, the partners were in Leoben (Austria) to discuss the evolution of the project. LPRC members Luís Lopes and Márcio Tameirão represented the company in this event. ROBOMINERS’ innovative approach combines the creation of a new mining ecosystem with novel ideas from other sectors, in particular with the inclusion of disruptive concepts from robotics.

The first day of the meeting started with the review and updates on the various Work Packages (WPs) of the project. During this session, LPRC presented the work that is being implemented on WP8 – Active Roadmapping and Clustering, which the team leads. The previous work was analyzed and next steps were defined for the months to come. During the afternoon, the consortium was divided into different sessions. In one of this sessions, LPRC hosted an interactive Horizon Scanning Exercise (following a previous one) with the ROBOMINERS experts. This exercise aimed at analysing “hits” – aspects of relevance for the implementation of ROBOMINERS – and study how they can impact and be important for the continuation of the project. The results will now be processed by the LPRC team.

On the second day, the ROBOMINERS partners visited a mine in neighboring Slovenia – Mežica mine – which is under consideration for a test site location for the project’s demonstrations. On the third and final day, and back to Leoben, the project hosted its 2nd Clustering event entitled “The key technological obstacles towards a fully autonomous robotic mining (eco)system”, a Twinning Event organised between Leoben, Brussels and online. LPRC took part in the preparation of this Clustering event.

Follow the project developments on its website and social media channels!

LPRC joins PRO-ACT project TRR session

On 16 February 2021, the PRO-ACT project had its TRR – Test Readiness Review – meeting with the EC and an elected group of space experts – the PSA. Our team took part of this meeting to present results on the preparation of the artificial lunar analogue for the final demonstrations.

The meeting got together all the project partners and reviewers to show results, analyse outcomes and prepare the final demonstrationa activities in a series of presentations and organic discussions. The presentations mainly about WP4 – Manufacturing, Assembly, Integration and Test. As part of the work developed under this Work Package, LPRC (Luís Lopes) presented the design and preparation of the lunar analogue for the final project demonstrations. This lunar analogue is established in Bremen, Germany, at DFKI’s (one of the project partners facilitites). Luís gave an overview of the activities that resulted in the creation of this artificial lunar analogue, including details on the testbed, the simulant chosen as regolith representative and the distribution of the testing elements in the available space.

Follow the PRO-ACT website for more news on this exciting project!

ROBOMINERS project Review Meeting

On 29 January 2021, the ROBOMINERS project had its first review meeting with the EC. Our team was present as leaders of Work Package 8 to assess and discuss the main outcomes.

The review meeting, which lasted the whole Friday, was built around presentations of the work done since the beginning of the project until now. Each Work Package leader presented the results and engaged in fruitful discussions with the EC to clarify doubts and employ recommendations for improvement. As a Work Package leader, LPRC (Luís Lopes) made the presentation on Work Package 8 – Active roadmapping and clusters. Luís gave an overview of the clustering activities developed and implemented up to now, as well as the Focus Groups and Horizon Scanning exercises with experts. The presentation of the work was well received and no major doubts or recommendations were put forward.

Work Package 8 presentation (Luís Lopes)

The efforts of clustering and roadmapping will continue in the next months with a series of engaging activities!

UNEXUP presented at the virtual Mineral Exploration Symposium 2020

The 2020 edition of the Mineral Exploration Symposium was a two-day virtual event (17-18 September) organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Despite the fact that it had to be held online, it was still a great opportunity for many researchers and members of the mining industry to present and discuss the current state of projects and initiatives that intend to address a continuous supply of critical raw materials to the EU.

The first day started with an introductory section, lead by members of the European Commission. One of the speakers – Gerardo Herrera (DG Grow) – mentioned the UNEXMIN project, in which LPRC was an active partner, during his talk on “Introduction to the EU challenges on mineral exploration and its importance for the society”.

The following sessions covered EU-funded projects related to raw materials exploration methods, technologies and innovation in the sector, which is a crucial step towards the achievement of the ambitious climate goals set by the EU Green Deal. The technologies involved in the clean energy transition (e.g. electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels and others) will require a substantial amount of critical raw materials, which translates to an increase in mining activities and new exploration methods in the EU.

LPRC member Márcio Tameirão represented the UNEXUP project under Session 3: European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Raw Materials, by presenting the context, history, and current state of the activities towards the improvement and commercialization of the UX-based robotic technology.

The event counted with a maximum of 200 attendees, from all over the world, who could learn more and ask questions about the current state of the many ongoing EU-funded raw materials projects.

UNEXUP e-meeting – WP0 & WP1 workshop

On March 24th-26th, the LPRC team participated in an UNEXUP three-day consortium e-meeting, which was held via teleconferencing due to the quarantine measures of the current COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. In this opportunity, partners responsible for the commercialization strategy and technological developments presented the current progress and the work plan for the next months, followed by discussions and questions raised by the whole consortium.

In the technological scope, the presentations were about the upscaling of the current UX-1 robotic platform – built during the UNEXMIN project, as well as the future development of an additional robot that will be added to the platform, which will be able to accomplish even more challenging missions, with improved hardware, software and overall capabilities.

UNEXMIN GeoRobotics Ltd. and LPRC made presentations for the commercialization / business plan section of the e-meeting. The LPRC presentation covered the Go-To-Market strategy, mentioning the PDAC 2020 findings, where LPRC was present to make a brief market assessment by dialoguing with UNEXUP’s potential clients in order to understand their expectations and needs from the service. This input is valuable to provide the necessary tools to develop a solid business plan for the UNEXUP exploration/ mine mapping service.

LPRC is the leader of the communication and dissemination Work Package (WP4) in UNEXUP, also taking part in the Go-To-Market strategy (WP0), by contributing with customers’ relations and analysis.