UNEXMIN & ¡VAMOS! to organize a joint conference in January 2018

UNEXMIN, together with another Horizon2020 project – ¡VAMOS! (http://vamos-project.eu/) – will be organizing a joint conference in January 2018. The focus will be on the use of robotics and automation for mineral exploration and extraction. The collaboration between the two EU-funded projects, that are developing innovative technologies, with participants outside both consortia, will certainly give a push in the development of the current technologies, with a fresh look onto the work being developed and future steps. The conference aims to bring together the interested parties, including experts and stakeholders, to establish discussions around the latest advances in the field and develop synergies on innovation in mineral exploration and extraction.

The one-day conference is scheduled to 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 intends to serve as a mean to build and strengthen collaboration, network with professionals from the robotics, geology and mining sectors and to share experiences.

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.

Idrija Mercury Mine (Credit: Arne Hodalič)

Francis’ Shaft (Credit: Matej Peternelj)

For more information, please check the conference flyer. Some relevant data for the registration and important dates are mentioned below.

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
Second circular: 30 October 2017
Registration deadline: 8 January 2018
Final conference program: 20 January 2018
Field trip to Idrija: 29 January 2018
Conference: 30 January 2018

UNEXMIN present in EIT Raw Materials Event on Drones, exploration and mining

The UNEXMIN project will be present during one of the following EIT Raw Materials events, entitled: “Brokerage event and Workshop on Drones, Autonomous Systems for Exploration and Mining“. The event will be held in Espoo, home of the Geological Survey of Finland, during the 14th and 15th of September. It aims to gather researchers, small and large companies and investors in the multidisciplinary of unmanned vehicles.

The topics from this event will work around: (1) Drones, robotics, automation, (2) advanced materials, sensors, energy storage, (3) digital platforms and solutions and (4) safety, regulations and permits. The defined topics will focus on applications in open pit and underground mining and geological mapping, two very important applications for geological purposes.

It is a great pleasure for the UNEXMIN project to be present in this EIT Raw Materials event, as the topics being discussed are the ones the consortium has been working on for quite some time now: drones, autonomy, mapping, exploration and mining. We hope that UNEXMIN can have a positive contribution and impact in the audience and  learn from others’ own experiences. Discussions will surely push the topic of unnamed vehicles used in benefit of mining even further.

A UNEXMIN robot’s prototype


Progress Workshop in Porto

From the 4th of July to the 6th of July, UNEXMIN partners got together for a three-day meeting entitled “Progress Workshop”. As the name indicates, this workshop was a way to control the work being done by every partner in each of the eight work packages, to guarantee that the project is developing in the right way. The meeting was hosted in Porto by INESC TEC at their facilities, which include a robotics development lab.

On the first day of the meeting, there was an overview of the project and a review of the work in each work package. Items included hardware and software developments, preparation for testing the robotic system and communication and dissemination activities. In a multi-disciplinary project like UNEXMIN (robotics, geology, technology development), it is crucial that the different teams share their work with the others. The Advisory Board members – experts in mining and geology – were present during the review of the project and gave their most valuable help to the project partners. Their guidance is very welcome – after all, they have the expertise.

Discussions held during the Progress Workshop

The second day was dedicated to a review meeting of the Work Packages with an evaluator of the European Commission. The evaluator considered the project as running well with everything having been done on time and with good development prospects. After the review, the partners visited INESC TEC robotics labs, where they have a local pool which is used for testing. UPM, who built a UX-1 prototype, tested the robot in the pool, as you can see in the following video.


On Thursday, the core discussions for the development of the multi-robotic system were held. These included discussion on Work Package 3 – Autonomy for mine exploration and mapping, Work Package 4 – Multi-robot platform development, and Work Package 6 – Post-processing and data analysis functions. These work packages started recently, so discussions on their structure and content are of high importance.

Post-processing discussion on laser scanner data

There is no time to make mistakes and the consortium is doing their best for the development of the multi-robotic system!

July begins with a UNEXMIN meeting in Porto

The UNEXMIN consortium partners will gather together in Porto, Portugal, from the 4th to the 6th of July. The Advisory Board will be present at this meeting – a group of experts from the industry and academia.

The meeting that will happen next week, entitled “Progress Workshop”, will be very important for the development of the project. The following concepts, essential for the progress of UNEXMIN, will be discussed:

  • Mechanical design of UX-1
  • Building of the first robotic prototype that will start in the Autumn
  • Technical discussions about UX-1
  • Logistics discussions about the UNEXMIN technology and service

Among all the discussions, the technical teams will show the developments they have achieved so far. Like UPM (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) partners, that will show their laboratory tests with a prototype of UX-1:

Next week there will be great news to share with everyone!

University of Miskolc (UNIM) doing some field tests for the UX-1 instruments

Work begins in the lab on UX-1: Part 2 – University of Miskolc

In one of the latest posts on UNEXMIN, it was presented the work being done by TUT. Now it’s time for another team of the UNEXMIN’s consortium.

The UNIM team comes from the University of Miskolc, Hungary. They are responsible for Work Package 2 “Scientific instrument design and adaptation” and are working one of the most important areas for the future multi-robotic system – building tailor-made instruments that will allow the robot to get the most meaningful geoscientific data possible inside flooded mines.

Many of the spaces designed for the UX-1 submersible will be filled with scientific instruments developed by UNIM

Inside Work Package 2, UNIM is responsible for deliverables such as the “Parameter framework report”, “General interface specification report”, “Laboratory test reports of instrumentation units” and “Real environment test report of instrumentation units”. In short, UNIM has been studying and developing the scientific instruments while testing them in the laboratory and in field conditions. These steps will guarantee that the scientific components work at maximum efficiency in flooded mine environments (confined places, pressure and temperature constraints, etc).

University of Miskolc (UNIM) doing some field tests for the UX-1 instruments

UNIM team testing the scientific instrumentation in the field (Rudabánya open-pit mine)

UNIM’s work, which started right in the beginning of the project, can, in a nutshell, be described as defining, adapting, testing and calibrating the various scientific instruments (see the list below) that the UX-1 robot will carry on board during its missions. The scientific instrumentation was carefully chosen: the consortium had to evaluate considerations from the project stakeholders in what they wanted in the robotic system (user requirements) and various constraints related to the prototype design (i.e. size and weight limitations). These important factors limit the amount of equipment available for the robotic system.

The list of scientific apparatus include:

  • pH unit
  • Electrical conductivity analyser
  • Pressure and temperature analyser
  • Water Sampler
  • Magnetic field measurer
  • Gamma-ray meter
  • Sub-bottom profiler
  • Multispectral camera
  • UV fluorescence unit

Some of the scientific equipment being tested. On the left: Test equipment for pH ; On the right: Underwater test equipment for UV lighting

The instrumentation listed above can be divided into Water sampling methods (including pH, electrical conductivity, pressure and temperature measurements), Geophysical methods (including Magnetic field, Gamma-ray, Sub-bottom profile measurements) and mineralogical – or optical – methods (including multispectral camera and UV fluorescence measurements). These methods will substitute the impossibility to use direct methods like collect rock samples from mining walls, thus allowing the robot to still get valuable nonscientific data. In a project of this nature, valuable data is everything.

The results of the work being developed by UNIM will be seen when the first robotic prototype UX-1 is ready to be tested in early 2018 – the first test is scheduled for May, in the Kaatiala Mine, Finland.