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Closing of the UNEXMIN Project

The UNEXMIN project, where LPRC leaded tasks on Dissemination, Technology transfer and Exploitation, has now ended, after a period of 45 months, where a multidisciplinary team from 7 European countries contributed to the development of a multi-robotic platform to map and explore flooded mines.

UNEXMIN brought together geoscientists, robotics engineers, policy makers and others from the fields of robotics and geology, to deliver an innovative technology capable of exploring flooded mines, caves and other environments and collecting valuable geological and visual information. Besides this main output, UNEXMIN also delivered, among others, an Inventory of Flooded Mines in Europe, various unique data from the test sites and a joint company that will keep exploitation of the technology going forward.

Within UNEXMIN, LPRC was responsible for:

  • Developing and maintaining the project website and social media channels
  • Create dissemination material such as brochures, posters and press releases
  • Develop a research roadmap for the future of the technology
  • Initiate and bring forward the establishment of the joint company UNEXMIN GeoRobotics
  • Other tasks contributing to dissemination of the project such as presentations in conferences and workshops around Europe

LPRC is proud to have contributed to the development of the project and will continue to help in the exploitation of the technology to several target markets: flooded mines, caves, fishing ponds, water pipes and much more. Will the future be bright for the UX-1 robots and the technology?

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.

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!

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!

UNEXMIN presented at EGU 2019, Vienna

The UNEXMIN project was presented by LPRC’s member Luís Lopes during this year’s EGU General Assembly meeting, held in Vienna, between the 7th and 12th of April. The overview of the current and future state of the project was presented to a geoscientists audience, interested in  the future state of the mineral exploration sector.

UNEXMIN’s presentation on EGU 2019 was inserted on the session ITS2.2/ERE4.4 – The New Roadmap for Mineral Exploration: Challenges and Innovative approachesLuís Lopes’s talk on UNEXMIN, entitled “UNEXMIN: an innovative approach for mineral exploration in flooded mines “, focused on the project’s innovative solution that aims to contribute to mineral exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines in Europe, without major costs or associated risks. The past, present and future of the technology were covered within the discussed topics that included the development of the robotic system and the field trials.

During the presentation on the project, there were a roomful of 60 people present. A session on Questions and Answers after the talk provided more input on the project to the session participants. It should be noted that the presentation had a positive and intriguiging effect on the audience: a great part showed interest either by making questions during the Q&A session or by directly talking to the presenter after the talk.

Luís Lopes also assisted to the debate on “Science in policymaking: Who is responsible?” and discussed poster presentations on new innovative approaches in mining with their authors during the poster session. LPRC’s line of work directly shines under geoscience and policy making, and therefore, this was a good opportunity to learn about the state of play in these fields.

Link to the debate on “Science in policymaking” debate: https://client.cntv.at/egu2019/gdb2

The UNEXMIN project was communicated and disseminated with LPRC’s efforts once again!

UNEXMIN present at the EU Industry Days 2019, Brussels

The UNEXMIN project was present at the EU Industry Days 2019 in Brussels. The event, during the 5th and 6th of February, brought together many stakeholders from the most diverse industrial sectors within Europe and beyond, also including researchers and governmental bodies. Some European funded projects were invited to showcase their innovations and impact in the EU industry landscape. This was the case for UNEXMIN.

During both days of the event the UNEXMIN project booth conveyed a lot of interest from the participants that visited the exhibition area. The UNEXMIN stand counted with three Consortium partner and one robot, the first UX-1 prototype. From La Palma Research Centre, Luís Lopes was present to help in communicating the project to a very diverse audience.

The presence of the UX-1 robot at the UNEXMIN stand surely invited people to come and discuss about the robot itself and the project overall. Past, present and future developments were among discussions as were some future commercial perspectives where the innovative UNEXMIN technology can be applied.

In the end of the event, the UNEXMIN team felt that this was a great opportunity to disseminate and communicate about the project and was very glad to be invited to such an important event. Mission accomplished!

 

UNEXMIN meeting, La Palma

La Palma Research Centre recently had the pleasure to receive the UNEXMIN partners in the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, Spain. The meeting that brought together partners to discuss the actual state of UNEXMIN and the future of the project was held on the 10 and 11th of January.

The development of the multi-robotic platform was also discussed and a schedule for the production and assembly of the two other robots was defined. This is an important step in order to guarantee that the UNEXMIN team will have the robots ready in time for the field trials.

The first day started with discussions among the partners about the current state of the trials. Both the data analysis from the previous tests (Idrija and Kaatiala) as well as the two next ones (Urgeiriça and Ecton) were discussed. This last point was of particular importance since the team will have two and three robots in Urgeiriça and Ecton, respectively, which will make the trials ever more complex. Therefore, proper planning is crucial and that was one of the reasons why this meeting was held now. The Urgeiriça trial is planned for March/April, while UNEXMIN will go to Ecton in May.

The other major point of the meeting – on the second day – was the discussion of the short, medium and long-term future of the UNEXMIN technology. Discussions focussed on how to better serve the market with this innovative technology that will result in the exploration and 3D mapping of underground flooded mines and other underwater environments.

Also, on the second day, as an interactive exercise, the partners worked together on a mindmapping exercise that was organised by LPRC. The results from this mindmap as well as from other foresight tools will be input for the research roadmap of the UNEXMIN technology.

This was a successful meeting where all the partners contributed with their views and knowledge and from where a bright future for UNEXMIN could be created!

From LPRC, it was a pleasure to host this meeting and we hope to see our UNEXMIN partners there in a future opportunity.

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!

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.