In Europe, it is estimated that there are 30,000 closed mine sites and many of these may have considerable amounts of essential raw materials. Many of these closed mines are now flooded and the last piece of information of their status and layout is decades or more than a hundred years old. The complex underground layout, topology and geometry of most underground mines, make it impossible to do any surveying by conventional or remotely controlled equipment. One of these examples is the usage of human divers, which can prove unfruitful and even lethal in harsh deep mine conditions.
The main objective in the UNEXMIN project is to develop a fully autonomous multi-platform Robotic Explorer, made by three robots which will share the workload, that will use non-invasive methods for 3D mine mapping on flooded and deep mines, otherwise inaccessible, in Europe. UNEXMIN’s pioneer developing technique could open new exploration scenarios for European abandoned mines, with the help from actualized data that cannot be accessed any other way, without major costs.