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.

Register for the UNEXMIN final conference now!

The UNEXMIN final conference will be held in Brussels, on the 26th of September. Registration is open and can be accessed now. It is free!

Dear Sir/Madam,

As the coordinator of the UNEXMIN project, it is my pleasure to invite you to our final conference. This event will be the end of a 4-year journey that led to the development of a robotic platform allowing to explore flooded mines and other flooded structures and environments. During our final conference, you will have the chance to learn more about the project outcomes and its connection to European policies. Come, meet the team and learn all about UNEXMIN!

By the way, we will have a very special guest: the first UX-1 robot itself!

See you hopefully soon in Brussels,

Norbert Zajzon

 

About the event

The EU-funded UNEXMIN project is developing a technology capable of autonomous exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines. The robotic platform uses non-contact methods to gather geological, mineralogical and spatial data without major costs or risks associated. The field trials, set up at four different flooded underground mines in Europe, have helped the team to access the platform’s development and to improve this unique exploration technology.

The event programme will include high-level discussions on European innovative raw materials policies, UNEXMIN’s support to those policies, and on the capabilities and future application of the exploration system. The conference will thus provide a unique opportunity to discover the outcomes of the UNEXMIN project and its specific fields of work, including minerals exploration, raw materials exploitation, and robotics and ICT development, with cross-cutting discussions that will demonstrate the impact that UNEXMIN can have on the European landscape. The conference 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 speakers have already confirmed their attendance and you can discover here an overview of the programme:

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

  • Aim of the call for proposals – Marcin Sadowski (EASME, Head of sector – Raw Materials)
  • 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 – Yves Vanbrabant (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, EFG-Linked Third Party) 

Afternoon session II: Robotics & functionalities

  • UX-1 robotic functions: testing and validation – Jussi Aaltonen (University of Tampere)
  • UX-1 multi robot platform – Alfredo Martins (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 – Mineral exploration, future and long-term initiatives

Venue

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstreet, 29 I 1000 Brussels I Belgium

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

Summary of the second week of field work at the Ecton mine, UK

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!

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