UNEXMIN presented to the Mining Institute of Scotland

Dr. James Tweedie of RCI/4DCoders presented an overview of the UNEXMIN project including robot design and development, instrumentation, data processing and visualisation, and even the future test sites to prove the technology operability, to members of the Mining Institute of Scotland (part of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining) at Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh) on 13th December 2017.

This event was also relayed by live interactive link to the meeting room at BP in Aberdeen and a single attendee elsewhere in Scotland. The presentation about the UNEXMIN project lasted about 50 minutes and was followed by a number of perceptive and relevant questions from attendees, covering both sensors and robot operation in real conditions, supporting the relevance of the UNEXMIN technology to the mining/raw materials community.

General layout of the UX-1 robot

Despite poor weather conditions about 30 people in total attended the presentation. The talk was so intriguing, that one of the attendees suggested that UNEXMIN should be there again in two years, this time to present the results of the four field trials! The first test will be held already in June, this year.

From the UNEXMIN side, we sure hope to be there again in the future with more good news about the project!

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!

Fictional depiction of the multi-robotic platform UX-1 in work in a flooded mine

UNEXMIN present at the 17th ICCAS conference in Jeju, South Korea

The 17th ICCAS (International Conference on Control, Automation and Systems) conference was held from the 18th to the 21st of October in Jeju, South Korea. UNEXMIN was presented during the first day on a plenary session related to “Mechatronic and Automation”. The ICCAS conference is internationally known as a place for applied science researchers, with mainly focus on mechatronics, robotics and automation. As of this, Soheil Zavari, researcher from TUT, working on the development of UX-1, presented the project in this forum.

Some Asian countries, like South Korea, have been investing a lot of time and money in robotic applications such as ROV, UAV and industrial robots. They’ve also developed a lot of theoretical research in this field. Introducing the new UNEXMIN concept of “exploring flooded mines using an autonomous system” to a robotics-focused community was then quite impactful. This translated into a lot of interest in the project as Soheil suggests: “Although there was little time (about 20min) for presenting the mechanical and mechatronic development of the UX-1 system, most of the researchers have been quite interested to see the real robot face-to-face”- this will actually happen in mid-2018 with the first field trial in the Kaatiala mine, in Finland.

General layout of the UX-1 robot

The UNEXMIN presentation, although being directed to the robotics audience, focussing on the maneuverability of the robot – propulsion, pendulum and ballast systems -, also touched other important points. Among these, there were references to the different works being developed by the different teams, such as scientific instrumentation, post-processing tools, among others. Another important point, was the introduction of the UX-1 main purpose of collecting geological data and the narrow launching and driving space that the autonomous system will face inside flooded mines.

All-in-all this was a very good opportunity to make the project known to the robotics community, as robotics are such an important part of UNEXMIN!

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]geo-zs.si) 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]geo-zs.si

UNEXMIN project coordinator:
Norbert Zajzon
, nzajzon[at]uni-miskolc.hu

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

More information
Second Circular