The UNEXMIN Final Conference is next week!

After 4 years of hard work the UNEXMIN project is finally ready to show its results and outcomes. The UNEXMIN Final Conference will be held in Brussels on the 26th of September 2019. Registration is free!

Please come and meet the team and its work – including one of the UX-1 robots!

Find more information on the event, including registration, below!

About the event

The EU-funded UNEXMIN project is developing a technology capable of autonomous exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines. This technology has the potential to reduce Europe’s import dependency of mineral raw materials which are critical for the energy transition.

The programme will include high-level discussions on raw materials policies, on how the UNEXMIN project supports both the policies and European industrial innovation, and on the capabilities and future application of the exploration system.
Meet the UX-1 robot during our demo session!

We have identified a perfect venue for the robot demonstration: NEMO 33 hosts the world’s deepest diving pool and you will be able to watch comfortably the robot in action during the afternoon coffee break. The robot will be launched from the pool on the first floor and then cross a system of different tunnels. You will be invited to have a look at the control room, ask questions, and see the robot in action through the windows on the ground floor.

Why should you attend?

The conference will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the UNEXMIN project overall and its specific fields of work, including minerals exploration, raw materials exploitation, and robotics and ICT development, with cross-cutting discussions that aim at demonstrating the impact that UNEXMIN can have on the European landscape.
The event is particularly relevant for EU policymakers, academics, mineral exploration and exploitation companies, cave exploration companies, SMEs focussing on geological consultancy and minerals surveying, and robotics and ICT experts from private and public institutions.
Programme

Several high-level speakers have confirmed their attendance and you can discover the full programme here below:

Morning session: setting the political context: the future of mining in Europe

  • European policy context – Daniel Cios (European Commission, Policy Assistant, DG GROW)
  • Aim of the call for proposals – Marcin Sadowski (EASME, Head of sector – Raw Materials)
  • Future of exploration in mining – Helmut Mischo (TU Bergakademie Freiberg)
  • UNEXMIN – aim and outcomes – Norbert Zajzon (UNEXMIN, project coordinator, University of Miskolc)
  • ROBOMINERS H2020 project – Claudio Rossi (ROBOMINERS, project coordinator, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

Afternoon session I: Raw materials & mining

  • UNEXMIN processing and data analysis – Stephen Henley (RCI/4dcoders)
  • UNEXMIN field trials and geological interpretation – Gorazd Zibret (Geological Survey of Slovenia)
  • UNEXMIN Inventory of flooded mines – Isabel Fernández (European Federation of Geologists)

Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities

  • UX-1 robotic functions: testing and validation – Jussi Aaltonen (University of Tampere)
  • UX-1 multi robot platform – José Miguel Almeida (Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência)
  • UX-1 autonomy, mine exploration and mapping – Claudio Rossi (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)

Round table discussion on mineral exploration, future and long-term initiatives with panellists: 

  • Massimo Gasparon (EIT Raw Materials)
  • Mike Buxton (TU Delft)
  • Uwe Restner (Sandvik)
  • Kiril Horoshenkov (Sheffield Robotics)
  • Yves Vanbrabant (RBINS)

Important: venue change

Address:
NEMO 33
Rue de Stalle 333
1180 Uccle (Brussels) I Belgium
GPS:   50°47’46’ North – 04°19’02’ East

Registration

Participation in this event is free but requires registration.
Full information is available at https://www.unexmin.eu/unexmin-final-conference
To register, please fill in the form at https://forms.gle/V64vHekSZVbTZmo59

Live-streaming

You would like to attend, but can’t make it to Brussels on 26 September? Don’t worry, parts of the event will be live-streamed via UNEXMIN’s Facebook channel! You can connect starting at 9:30 for the morning session, follow the pool demos online and join us again for the afternoon roundtable discussion. Stay tuned via https://www.facebook.com/UNEXMIN/

Image: A 3D map of a flooded shaft in the Urgeiriça mine.
More images: https://www.unexmin.eu/image-gallery/

Summary of the field tests at the Molnár János cave, Hungary

From the 26th of June to the 5th of July 2019, the UNEXMIN project was in Budapest, Hungary, for the last trial activities within the project’s lifetime. After the trials at four mine sites (Kaatiala – Finland, Idrija – Slovenia, Urgeiriça – Portugal and Ecton – UK) it was time to test the robotic solution in a new environment. For this purpose, a cave system was chosen – the Molnár János cave.

The trials at the Molnár János cave involved using the two existent UX-1 robots – UX-1a and UX-1b – to explore, map and collect information about the flooded area of the cave. Robotic capabilities including movement, control and data analysis, but with focus on autonomy, were extensively tested, with paramount results. The following items give an account of the activities and results derived from the UNEXMIN’s activities at the Molnár János cave:

  • 26th of June (Wednesday): Setting up the test site and preparation/testing of the UX-1 robots. Studying of current maps of the cave.
  • 27th of June (Thursday): The first official dive happened on the 27th of June. The UX-1b robot was used. It was able to dive up to 8m depth and map the main chamber of the cave. This mission lasted for 35 minutes.
  • 28th of June (Friday): Similarly to the previous day UX-1b was used. The robot explored a small portion of the cave outside of the main chamber in a 1h30 mission.
  • 29th of June (Saturday): Three dives were made on this day: one with UX-1a and two with UX-1b. The main chamber and some other smaller parts of the cave were mapped by the robots. In total, the robots were in the water for more than 2 hours.
  • 30th of June (Sunday): UNEXMIN off-day!
  • 1st of July (Monday): UX-1a was used three times during this day to explore the main parts of the cave system. Missions lasted for 4 hours in total. During these tests, the robot used autonomous waypoint navigation successfully – the robot was autonomous! UX-1a managed to get very good camera images from a very warm water (around 23ºC).
  • 2nd of July (Tuesday): Both UX-1 robots were working at the same time in the water, independently, to map and collect data from different areas of the cave. Teamwork!
  • 3rd of July (Wednesday): Three dives, two with UX-1a and one with UX-1b. Autonomy was the focus of these tests.
  • 4th of July (Thursday): Last dives of the robots: one for UX-1a, another for UX-1b. The robots’ capabilities, mainly movement and control, were targeted. During this last day of testing, the robots’ missions lasted for more than 5 hours, when combined.

With the ending of the Molnár János exploratory works, the UNEXMIN project was able to prove across the past year that its technology to explore and map flooded mines  – and other environments – is feasible and a good solution to a big problem: the lack of information from flooded environments. This was a major objective of the project, so the team considers it a success!

Now, it is time to wrap up things, process the data available and present UNEXMIN’s major results and outputs to the public during the final conferenceentrance is free, but registration is required.

UNEXMIN presented at AIMS “Mines of the Future” 2019 in Aachen

The UNEXMIN project was presented in the AIMS – Aachen International Mining Symposia- 2019 “Mines of the Future”. The current status and future of the project were presented to an audience of geologists, mining engineers and other geoscientific-related personnel from academia, research, industry and governmental bodies.

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:

Science: Tailings & Mine wastes
Technology: Digitalisation
Science: Methods & measurements
Science: Mining challenges
Technology: Equipment & methods
Innovation: Modelling

The UNEXMIN project was introduced under session 5 – Technology: Equipment & methods. Entitled “Re-exploring flooded mines: the UNEXMIN unique robotic solution” the presentation focused on the current state and the future opportunities created by this innovative exploration technology.

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!”.

It was great to have the UNEXMIN project represented in 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.

The UNEXMIN technology will shape the future of mineral exploration!

UNEXMIN consortium meeting in Budapest: final decisions and preparations made ahed of Molnár János field trials

The UNEXMIN project held its most recent consortium workshop in Budapest on the 24th and 25th of June. The project partners took this opportunity to discuss the state of the technology, future perspectives and prepare the field trials at the Molnár János cave, the last big step in the mission planning and execution.

The two days event started with discussions on the navigation and autonomy features of the UX-1 robots. 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 geoscientific data of relevance that cannot be obtained in any other way is the motto of the UNEXMIN technology – the one item that will prove the technology as usable. The first day finished with a short discussion on the final UNEXMIN conference and its planning – registration is open and free for everyone.

The second day began with a talk on the remaining of the UNEXMIN project lifetime deliverables as well as an 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 occur, to start preparations of the testing.

The UNEXMIN team will now continue with the many aspects of developing such a challenging technology, that will be presented during the final UNEXMIN conference!

The final field trials started today!

The last field trials with the UNEXMIN’s technology started today. The team is now in Budapest where it is using it’s UX-1 robots to explore, map and obtain critical information about the Molnár János cave – a new type of test environment.

From the 26th of June to the 5th of July the UNEXMIN team will be stationed in Budapest with the aim to use the UX-1 robots to dive and explore the Molnár János cave, famous for its big size and layout. After testing its robotic system in four mines around Europe – Kaatiala, Idrija, Urgeiriça and Ecton – the consortium decided to take the chance to use its system in an unknown environment to the team – a cave system. This differs from the usual mine setup in the sense that there is no expected structure inside the cave system – the irregular layout might negatively influence the navigation and other capabilities of the robot.

The need to test in different environments is necessary in order to better understand the capabilities of the robot and the technology as a whole, which, in turn, allows the development to better fit different needs. The team will use this opportunity to strenghten the robot’s autonomy and other functionalities.

Follow @UNEXMIN on our social media channels to keep up with the most recent news on the Molnár János field trials: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.