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!

UNEXMIN at the European Raw Materials Week 2017

The Raw Materials Week, a recent European event dealing with the challenges, problems and solutions on the raw materials sector, took place from the 6th to the 10th of November in Brussels.

The UNEXMIN project was represented on this European event through the organized poster session. This specific poster session had a collection of projects running through all Europe, including many Horizon2020 projects. The common denominator of the presented projects are the challenges faced in the raw materials sector and what each project is doing to solve the issue. UNEXMIN is contributing to deal with the raw materials bottlenecks (for example, the European dependence on the import of many mineral raw materials) by developing a robotic solution that can explore and map flooded mines, helping to gather new information on the raw materials availability throughtout Europe.

The first robotic prototype, UX-1, is being completed and the first field tests with the UNEXMIN developed technology will happen by mid-2018. In the next Raw Materials Week there will be something much more substancial to show from the UNEXMIN project… including a real, working robot!

UNEXMIN & ¡VAMOS! – joint conference, Slovenia, January 2018

UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! – two EU-funded projects – will be co-organizing a joint conference in January 2018. The most recent circular about the conference has been now launched!

The joint UNEXMIN-¡VAMOS! conference, entitled “Use of Robotics and automation for mineral prospecting and extraction” aims to bring together experts from minerals exploration and mining and from the robotics fields to discuss about the latest advances in the respective fields and rise synergies on innovation in mineral prospecting and extraction.

The one-day forum will start with an introductory plenary, followed by parallel sessions focused on presentations and further discussions about the projects. In the afternoon, workshops related to technology roadmapping and exploitation are envisaged, being part of UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! activities. The conference also ultimately aims to develop networking experiences and establishing new cooperation links between different partners and perspectives.

Overall agenda for the conference

All interested people from the fields of geology, mining, robotics, machinery, minerals industry representatives, mining and construction machinery manufacturers, robotics developers and manufacturers and policy and decision makers in the field of mineral exploration and extraction are invited to attend. This conference will be organized by the Geological Survey of Slovenia, partner in both UNEXMIN and ¡VAMOS! projects, in Bled, Slovenia, on the 30th of January 2018. Besides the core conference, it is also possible – and advisable! – to join a one day pre-conference field trip to the Idrija mercury mine – one of the test sites where the UX-1 robot will be tested.

For more information, please check the conference flyer.

Idrija Mercury Mine (Credit: Arne Hodalič)

Francis’ Shaft (Credit: Matej Peternelj)

Relevant data about the conference is also mentioned below:

Date and Venue
The conference will be held on 30 January 2018 in Hotel Kompas, Bled. Bled town is situated in an alpine landscape of the NW Slovenia and is a popular tourist destination. The town is 35 km from Ljubljana International Airport and 55 km from the capital city, Ljubljana.

Please register via email (manja.zebre[at] by 8 January 2018.
Required registration data:
Name and surname,
– Institution,
– Title of the presentation (optional),
– Up to 600-word (one page) abstract with one image (optional),
– Attendance to networking dinner,
– Possible special dietary requirements,
– Attendance to pre-conference field trip to Idrija.
Registration is free-of-charge. Individual invitations letters can be prepared if needed.

Important Dates
Registration deadline: 8 January 2018
Final conference program: 20 January 2018
Field trip to Idrija: 29 January 2018
Conference: 30 January 2018

Contact information
Local organisers:
Gorazd Žibret (general info),
Manja Žebre (registration), manja.zebre[at]

UNEXMIN project coordinator:
Norbert Zajzon
, nzajzon[at]

iVAMOS! project coordinator and technical management:
Jenny Rainbird,
Stef Kapusniak, stef.kapusniak[at]

More information
Second Circular