HORIZON 2020 RDI & CAS Project Cluster Conference, Brussels

The first HORIZON 2020 RDI & CAS Project Cluster Conference

On the 19th of April, the UNEXMIN project was represented at the first Horizon 2020 RDI & CAS Project Cluster Conference, held in Brussels. This conference, organized by  Geokompetenzzentrum Freiberg, partners of the H2020 FAME project, intended to gather the Horizon 2020 projects that are related to “the valorisation of domestic European resources” and to discuss the exploitation measures of the projects’ results. The final and transversal goal to all the projects is to achieve a bigger impact on the interested stakeholder groups (mining companies, policy makers, scientific community, etc.).

The one-day event had talks from technical and non-technical case studie projects (FAME, INTMET, METGROW+, SLIM, among others), that shared their experience in best practices in clustering to engage exploitation to reach a bigger impact. This event was based on the principle of networking, with the projects sharing experiences and ideas among them, fostering present and future collaboration to solve Europe’s dependency on the import of raw materials.

Project exploitation is essential to foster discussion

Best practices were presented

The first Horizon 2020 RDI & CAS Project Cluster Conference was the perfect opportunity to discuss the raw materials topic. Responsibles from EU institutions such as DG Grow and EASME were also present and gave their own view on the efforts made by the European Commission and the Horizon 2020 funded projects.

UNEXMIN, now over the first half of its lifetime, is trying to maximise the impact of the project’s results by reaching all its stakeholders with the most recent and adequate flow of information and results from the project development.

Girls’ Day at University of Miskolc

The engineering faculties of University of Miskolc organised the Girls’ Day for the sixth time on 26th April, with the aim of raising the interest of young girls for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the engineering careers. In total, 250 girls from different secondary schools across Hungary attended the event.

One of the activities during this day occurred at the Institute of Mineralogy and Geology, where about 80 girls, divided in three groups, visited the mineral exhibition. Then, Eva Hartai, coordinator of the CHPM2030 project spoke about the running H2020 projects, UNEXMIN and CHPM2030. After a short introduction, overview videos of the two projects were presented.

Girls’ Day at University of Miskolc

The UNEXMIN project, with its innovative technology, aroused great interest from the girls in the UX-1 robot, which will soon be able to work in water, deep underground. There were several questions regarding its size, material composition and functions, showcasing their interest in the project.

Presentation of the UNEXMIN project during the Girls’ Day.

During this day, the girls were informed that interested students are involved in these projects, which provides them with an opportunity to join international working groups, making them very interested in making a career within fields historically dominated by men.

Bringing more women into the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is an important step.  Who knows if the next series of underwater robots to explore underground flooded mines is not coming from one of those minds?

First UNEXMIN consortium meeting in 2018. Bled, Slovenia

The UNEXMIN project consortium partners got together in Bled, Slovenia, during the 31st of January and 1st of February, to discuss about the many current project achievements and future prospects for the development of the autonomous UX-1 robot and its innovative technology to explore and map flooded mines.

UNEXMIN consortium partners present in Bled

The two-day event started with the always necessary welcome speech and practicalities to which followed a general introduction of the UNEXMIN project. This point was of particular importance due to the presence of new members on the audience – three new advisory board members and the EFG Linked Third Parties members. In order to keep everyone connected to the most recent developments in the UNEXMIN project, the 8 main work packages (WP) were presented. The main themes for each presentation were as follows:

  • WP1 – Robotic functions validation: advancements on the robot’s hull manufacturing and the tests on basic robotics’ functions;

  • WP2 – Scientific instrument design and adaptation: discussion and display of the sensors developed specifically to the robot, as the water sampler and sub-bottom profiler;

  • Wp3 – Autonomy for mine exploration and mapping: planning for the development of the first version of UX-1 software tools for spatial awareness and navigation;

  • WP4 – Multi-robot platform development: assembly of the robot before the first field test with UX-1 – assembly in April; trial in June;

  • WP5 – Stakeholder mobilisation: stakeholder engagement by the consortium partners and development of the European database of flooded mines;

  • WP6 – Post-processing and data analysis functions: status of the post-processing software tools and data management;

  • WP7 – Demonstration/pilots: trial in the Kaatiala mine (June) and mission planning procedures;

  • WP8 – Dissemination, technology transfer and exploitation: communication activities done by the consortium partners, plans for the future research roadmapping and technology explotation tasks.

The meeting proceeded with two important sessions: the Advisory Board and Steering Committee meetings. On the first, discussions were driven by the comments of the 6 advisory board members present – their objective is to help the project improve, making helpful suggestions from their vast expertise in the robotics and raw materials fields. The steering committee was the place where the partners could discuss important topics and take crucial decisions. At the same time as these meetings were held, there were parallel technical discussions on the development of UX-1 and the preparations for its assembly during April. A virtually reality set that created a lot of expections to a feature that is still to be developed for UNEXMIN by the project partners, together with some of the developed sensors were also shown around to participants.

The second day was reserved to technical discussions, mainly focussing on the first trial for the UX-1 robot, and the UNEXMIN technology. This first test will happen between the 11th and 25th of June in the Kaatiala pegmatite mine, Finland. It intends to give the first field results on the exploration and mapping capabilities of the robotic system. Feedback from this trial will then be used by the technology developing partners to further upgrade the robot. This process will make the robotic system ready for the second trial at the Idrija mine, in Slovenia, to happen at the beginning of September this year. Following the discussions, the consortium held an interactive debate regarding the future exploitation of the results – that will be translated into the creation of a company offering the UNEXMIN services to the market.

In the end, and after all the debates regarding the past, present and future state of the UNEXMIN project, the meeting in Bled was very rewarding!

The UNEXMIN consortium thanks the participation and good advice given by the advisory board and all other members.

The “Use of robotics and automation for mineral prospecting and extraction” conference was a success!

The UNEXMIN project was one of the co-organizers of the conference entitled “Use of robotics and automation for mineral prospecting and extraction”, together with the ¡VAMOS! and Real-Time Mining projects – all of them funded by the Horizon 2020 framework programme. The one-day conference was held in Bled, Slovenia, on the 30th of January, 2018. It was centred in two main sessions: one dedicated to  plenary talks and presentations; the other to interactive workshops. These sessions had the three projects has a major focus.

The day before the meeting, particpants were invited for a field visit to the Idrija Mercury Mine, located in the western part of Slovenia. The Idrija mine is a former mercury mine that was active for more than 500 years, mined for cinnabar and natural occurring mercury and that is now a UNESCO heritage site since 2012. A visit to the smelting plant finished the field trip. It is important to note that the Idrija will be one of the 4 test sites for the UX-1 robot. This day offered the participants the perfect introduction to Slovenia, to mining and the use of robotics – the main themes of the conference.

 

On the 30th morning, the conference started with the usual welcoming speeches and introdutory talks. To these, a plenary session with talks on Advances in Subsea Mining, Future Mining, Robotics in Slovenia and on the Idrija Mercury Mine followed. After the groudwork presentations the conference was divided in Hardware and Software technical talks, focussing on both the UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects developments. The first part of the conference ended with three presentations related to the three co-organizing projects. The UNEXMIN general talk closed the session, leaving a very good impression on the participants.

 

On the afternoon, two simultaneous workshops took place, both dedicated to the UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects. To this, the group was divided between exploitation and research roadmapping workshops. The first, centralised in the exploitation of the results coming from both projects, tried to deliver ideas to obtain further funding, the post-project exploitation strategy to follow and how to persuade costumers to buy/invest into new technologies (like UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS!). The latter, established discussions to identify possible future research opportunities for the projects in three fields: geological data collection, spatial awareness and navigation, and extraction.

 

The results obtained from the exploitation and research roadmapping workshops, will surely help in the future development of the projects. Knowing how to explore the technology and how to further improve and adapt it to the future is essential.

The UNEXMIN consortium thanks for the important input given by everyone and to the Geological Survey of Slovenia for organizing this fruitful event!

UNEXMIN present at the “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”

The first ever EASME‘s event on Horizon 2020 mining projects, entitled “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects”, took place in Brussels, Belgium on the 12th of December 2017. This event gathered H2020 and even FP7 projects that are dealing with the various aspects of mining such as underground and underwater exploration, automation, deep sea mining, amongst others.

H2020 and FP7 mining projects present at the event

The cluster event for ongoing mining projects, hosted participants from various EU-funded mining projects and the UNEXMIN project was one of those. During this one-day event there were presentations by each project regarding objectives, approaches, and challenges, with the final objective of trying to find synergies between the different mining projects, that have common points in many ways. The event’s presentations were divided in 6 main fields: Intelligent Mining, Deep Sea Exploration and Mining, Sustainable Selective Low-Impact Mining, Re-opening abandoned mines in the EU, Real Time Exploration and Real Time Mining, Alternative Mining and, finally, Climate Services for Mining.

The UNEXMIN project was presented by Dr. Norbert Zajzon, the project coordinator, and UNEXMIN was very well received by the audience, which included members from different EU bodies, due to its challenging and ground-breaking technology – developing an autonomous robotic system to explore flooded mines – that is still in the development phase.

UNEXMIN project presentation

Questions & Answers sessions for the “re-opening mines” session

The first edition of the “H2020 cluster event for ongoing mining projects” was a success, as it brought together different projects, dealing with common aspects of such an important sector as the mining one is. The UNEXMIN project hopes to be present again next year to share insights on the first field tests of the UX-1 robotic explorer!