The UNEXMIN’s Ecton field mission that officially started on the 13th of May, will run until the 31st. After the exploration efforts made during the first week (from 13 to 19 May), that provided some interesting results on the flooded mine workings, such as shafts and galleries being mapped, the second week of trials is now surpassed. The most relevant aspects of this week were:
- 20th of May (Monday): The first dive of the second week was quite successful: UX-1 dived around to 92m without major problems. John Barnatt, EMET’s archeologist, managed to get information on parts of the mine that he thought did not even to exist! Also, past mining heritage, including wooden support structures were identified.
- 21st of May (Tuesday): One dive was made with the UX-1 robot during this day. A depth of 54m meters down the Great shaft was reached. Similarly to the past day, both geological and archeological items of relevance were identified with the help of images provided by the many UX-1’s cameras.
- 22nd of May (Wednesday): Day dedicated to adjustments and small repairs on the robots. Part of the UNEXMIN team had a guided visit to another mine near Ecton – the Clayton mine. Similarly to Ecton, Clayton mine was operated in the past and is now closed and partly flooded. Perhaps another site for the UNEXMIN exploratory technology?
- 23rd of May (Thursday): A simple test dive with the robots was performed to assure the operability of the robots after the past-day improvements and repairs.
- 24th of May (Friday): The UX-1a robot once again dived within the Main shaft up to around 94m. Around the mark of 52m depth, the team of UNEXMIN geologists managed to visually identify some interesting mineralogy, quite different from the surroundings – a patch of green minerals (thought to be of malachite). Further identification is only possible with the use of the multispectral camera, which the UX-1 robot will do.
- 25th of May (Saturday): First dive with the UX-1b robot during the second week. Due to this reason and for guaranteed security of operations the robot only dived up to the 59m mark. Once again the patch of green minerals was seen on camera. Other geological structures such as stockworks were also identified by the geologists’ team.
- 26th of May (Sunday): During the last dive of the second week the UX-1b robot managed to dive until the deepest point reached since the beginning of trials at the Ecton mine – 125m! The robot went down through the Main shaft, passed by two main intersections with other mining structures and managed to navigate around an area where an intersection between two shafts is seen. On the way up, the UX-1 robot collected some water samples, that will be later analysed in laboratory to learn more about the water chemistry at the flooded shaft.
After a successful second week, where the team met its major objectives – depths reached, areas mapped, discoveries made -, UNEXMIN is now proceeding with its last days in the UK. The aim is to reach even deeper and explore more flooded tunnels and galleries in a mine that has not been seen for the last 160 years… until UX-1 arrived!
The UNEXMIN team is in the UK, at the Ecton mines, to once again test its innovative exploration technology in real life conditions, after the field tests at Kaatiala, Idrija and Urgeiriça mines. The final aim of this trial is to map the most important flooded sections of the underground mine, at the same time as the team improves the operability of the surveying process. The first week on the field with the UX-1 robot was as follows:
- 13th of May (Monday): The first week of trials officially started on Monday, after a week of preliminary setups. The UNEXMIN team did some basic workings on both UX-1a and UX-1b robots. This was needed in order to have the robots ready for diving. All instruments and components of the robot were checked and repaired where needed.
- 14th to 16th of May (Tuesday to Thursday): Doing work on both the UX-1 robots, the control cabin with setting up connections between this and the work station inside the mine. Due to unexpected conditions, work got generally delayed, and the first official dive with the UX-1 robot only happened on Friday. Durind these days, the team strenghtened the operability of the robot, even without dives.
- 17th of May (Friday): The first dive with UX-1 was then done on this day. During this dive, the robot went up to a depth of 60m, through the Pumping shaft (also know as Great shaft). This was a highly successful dive: a lot of previously unrecorded geology and archeology was gathered from UX-1’s instrumentation. The UNEXMIN team found a big, interesting revelation at 58m: a very wide opening was identified, from which, EMET’s archeologist John Barnatt, believes to be a branch of the main mineral pipe – unexpected in that position.
- 18th of May (Saturday): Similarly to the Friday, the UX-1 robot descended until the 60m mark through the same shaft. This time, the main purpose was to test the robot capabilities such as movement, control and rapid descent. Most of the dive was achieved “nose down”, where the UX-1 robot moves with its front pointing downwards in a very challenging way.
- Sunday 19th (Sunday): Day-off dedicated to sighseeing around the Peak District. This area is known for its lead deposits in counterpart with Ecton, which is known for its copper deposits, quite unique in this geological area.
The UNEXMIN final event is set to happen on the 26th of September, later this year. It will count with a representative array of talks and discussions from robotics, raw materials and policy perspectives. Stakeholders are invited to take part on this event to learn more about UNEXMIN and the bigger European current and future perspective. Registration is free and is now open.
About the event
UNEXMIN is an EU-funded project that develops a novel robotic system for the autonomous exploration and mapping of Europe’s flooded mines. To learn more about these innovative mineral exploration techniques, we invite you to register now for the project’s final conference which will be held on 26th September 2019 in Brussels. At this occasion, project results, including the presence of one of the UX-1 robots, will be shown, discussed and demonstrated. The programme will include high-level discussions on raw materials policies, support from the UNEXMIN project to those policies and the European industrial innovation, and on the capabilities and future application of the exploration system.
The event sessions are now set and several speakers have already confirmed their attendance. The conference will be split into the following sessions:
- Morning session: Setting the political context – the future of mining in Europe
- Afternoon session I: Raw materials & mining
- Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities
- Round table and closing session
Who should 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. Therefore it 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.
More information and registration
Full information is available at https://www.unexmin.eu/unexmin-final-conference
Participation in this event is free but requires registration.
To register, please fill in the form at https://forms.gle/V64vHekSZVbTZmo59
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstreet, 29 I 1000 Brussels I Belgium
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us!
The beginning of the Ecton trials marks the fourth time that the UNEXMIN team will be on the field with the UX-1 robots to explore Europe’s flooded mines. At Ecton, the UNEXMIN team aims at exploring and mapping the entire flooded part of the underground mine workings with its innovative system. The UX-1 robots will be able to show light on the status and layout of a mine that no one has seen for more than 160 years! The Ecton field trials run from the 13th to the 31st of May.
Before the actual field trials, preparatory workings were held last week in order to guarantee that the Ecton trials go as smooth as possible. With all the practicalities set up, the UNEXMIN technical teams – TUT, UPM, INESC TEC, RCI and UNIM – are now ready to have the UX-1 system to recover geological, mineralogical and spatial information from deep Ecton during the next three weeks. Together with the technical teams a group of geological experts from the project will give specific input to geological and mineralogical identification.
The Ecton Mine Education Trust, partners in UNEXMIN and representing an important spectra of stakeholders – the cultural heritage side -, are collaborating with the other partners to assure that the trials are a success. With the data collected by the UX-1 technology, EMET expects to gain knowledge and uncover a precious part of the mine’s past in the form of its long-lost mining heritage (such as mining instruments used in the past). EMET, with the help of UNEXMIN, can then use these data for education and cultural purposes, benefiting the society at large. Achieving this will also prove the operability of the UX-1 technology in very challenging conditions and, at the same time, its usefulness.
Ecton will be the home of UNEXMIN for the rest of May. The team will work hard to have its robotic system explore and map all the flooded tunnels and galleries of this mine, attempting an increadibly challenging task. Fingers crossed!
Recently on UNEXMIN…
- Summary of the field tests at the Molnár János cave, Hungary 15th July 2019
- UNEXMIN presented at AIMS “Mines of the Future” 2019 in Aachen 28th June 2019
- UNEXMIN consortium meeting in Budapest: final decisions and preparations made ahed of Molnár János field trials 27th June 2019
- The final field trials started today! 26th June 2019
- Register for the UNEXMIN final conference now! 24th June 2019
I want to know about…
- September 26
- October 29 - October 31