UNEXMIN next stop: Urgeiriça mine, Portugal

The UNEXMIN technical teams are on their way to Portugal in preparation of the third set of field trials linked to the project. This is set to happen between the months of March and April in the Urgeiriça uranium mine, Portugal. The novelty of this trial will be the presence of two UX-1 robots to explore and map the flooded part of the mine.

After the first two UNEXMIN field trials, at the Kaatiala mine and at the Idrija mine, it is once again time for the robotic and instrumentation developers to go to the field for one more trial. The third elected place to explore is a closed flooded mine in the centre of Portugal, the Urgeiriça uranium mine, once a very important source of radium and uranium. Here, the team will aim at exploring and mapping the three main shafts and tunnels, representing a more difficult environment to navigate and map when compared to its test site predecessors. Difficulty in operations will be characterised by the presence of two UX-1 robots operating within the waters of the mine: UX-1a and UX-1b.

The next robot UX-1b – from a final platform of 3 working prototypes – is currently being assembled and pre-tested in Porto at INESC TEC’s testing pool. Having two robots within the exploration and mapping platform gives security of operations, while at the same time, distributing the scientific payload through the surveyors, which translates into reduced size, weight and power demands of the individual UX-1 robots: one of the major benefits (and demands!) of the UNEXMIN robotic platform.

Follow @UNEXMIN on our social media channels to keep up with the most recent news on the Urgeiriça field trials: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

UNEXMIN at PDAC 2019!

Once again, and following the example of last year, the UNEXMIN project is invited to be featured in a exclusive European Union booth specially dedicated to showcasing some of the European Horizon 2020 projects focussed on exploration and mining. The PDAC conference is held in Toronto, Canada, and this year will be held between the 3th and 6th of March.

UNEXMIN is currently developing and testing a multi-robotic platform to do autonomous exploration and mapping of flooded mines that aims at fostering cost effective exploration from environments that might still have valuable mineral resources.

Besides the opportunity given to be showcased at the European booth with a presentation and movies about the project, two members of the UNEXMIN project, RCI (through GEOREKA Software) and EDM, will also be present at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada – PDAC, extending the UNEXMIN project scope on the event.

Find the respective booths:

European Union
Booth Number: 7009N
Website: www.europa.eu/european-union

GEOREKA Software
Booth Number: 7211N
Website: www.georeka.com

EDM-Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro, SA
Booth Number: 2136
Website: www.edm.pt

PDAC International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange is considered to be one of the main global events towards mineral exploration and the mining sector. The conference will count with a large number of companies and personnel from the mineral exploration and mining industry, seeking knowledge and opportunities.

It is expected that the UNEXMIN project and its future technology will raise some interest, bringing forward the exploitation of the project’s results –  culminating with the technology being available for market purposes soon after the UNEXMIN project is over – on the 31st of March!

In case you want to learn more about the UNEXMIN project be sure to have a look around and search for the above mentioned booths.

The UNEXMIN project was present at the EU Industry Days 2019!

The UNEXMIN project was one of the 28 projects that were invited to be present at the EU Industry Days 2019, in Brussels. This unique event aimed at bringing together personalities from the most diverse sectors of industry within the EU and to showcase projects that are having impact on the EU’s industry panorama.

During the 5 and 6 of February the UNEXMIN consortium was invited to showcase its results in the event “EU Industry Days 2019” in Brussels. The project had the opportunity to have a unique stand from where three persons and one robot provided information to the participants about UNEXMIN and its development. The UX-1 robot, shipped from Porto on the sole purpose of this occasion was the star, not only of the UNEXMIN stand, but also of the exhibition. A blinking robot – its lasers and many cameras – makes wonders.

Overall, the UNEXMIN stand received a lot of interest from the passersby. In total, around 60 persons over the course of the two days dropped by the stand to discuss the robot and the technology attached to it. People were interested in learning more about the different techniques employed and the many uses that the innovative UNEXMIN solution can have in different sectors. From energy, to mining, to fishing, to underwater caving exploration, the UNEXMIN solution has aroused the interest of the crowd. Some people even approached the project team with a commercial interest – it is always great to see that the technology interests the stakeholders.

The UNEXMIN consortium would like to thank EASME for inviting the project to be present at such an important event. The consortium also thanks all the interested people that went to the stand to learn more about the UX-1 robot and the project itself – after all this technology is made for you.

UNEXMIN meeting in La Palma: UX-1 and field trials in the agenda

The UNEXMIN partners got together in the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, to discuss and better prepare the last year of the UNEXMIN project, that will officially end on the 31st October. The two-day meeting (10 and 11 of January) aimed at providing a place to discuss the present and future development of the project. The field trials and the production of the remaining two UX-1 robots were at the core of the agenda.

The above-mentioned points were largely introduced and discussed during the first day. The UNEXMIN project already underwent through two field trials (Kaatiala and Idrija) and results from the surveying of these mines is currently in development. The experience gained on both trials will allow the team to properly prepare for the surveys on the Urgeiriça (Portugal) and Ecton (UK) mines, where two and three robots will be used, respectivelly.

The production and assembly schedule of the next two UX-1 robots was also outlined in order to avoid any delays, that might hinder the project development. This was agreed by all partners that are involved in the construction of the robotic platform and work will follow inline with planned.

During the second day, and with the main issues to be discussed out of the way, the UNEXMIN partners had a more relaxing meeting. The future of UNEXMIN was discussed (next steps, what about the future, etc) and a mindmapping exercise, that will help to shape the future of UNEXMIN, was organised.

Now it is time to continue working in order to reach the UNEXMIN project’s objectives!

Interview with Tatjana Dizdarevic from CUDHg

“The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.”

The second field trials with the robotic technology developed by the UNEXMIN project are over. During two weeks the UNEXMIN teams have been in Idrija, Slovenia, at the Idrija mercury mine to test the capabilities of the UX-1 robot and to obtain data from the flooded mine that would be impossible to get otherwise. Tatjana Dizdarevic, from CUDHg, the public institution owning the mine rights, talks about the experience of having the UX-1 robot surveying the flooded part of Idrija mine and what benefits does it bring to the future of the Idrija mercury mine, an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Luís Lopes, LPRC: Do you feel the trial at Idrija was a success? Why?
Tatjana Dizdarevic: The Idrija trials were a success. The robot was tested in very difficult conditions; the transport from the surface to the water level in the shaft was a challenge for the Idrija miner’s crew, but the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials. The multispectral camera for recognizing minerals was successfully tested in the shaft’s water.

As for navigation within the flooded mine, the UX-1a robot dived to the maximum depth of 26,2m of the main shaft. Descent into depth lasted for 1,5 hours and rise from the depth lasted 0,30 hour. The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

LL: What data did you get and how will it be used?
TD: A three-dimensional model of the flooded main Borba shaft in a depth of 190m and another one from the open gallery on the 9th level in a depth of 220m with the obstacles found in it. The material will be used for presentation of a kind of cultural heritage that could not ever be seen by human again, if the UNEXMIN technology did not exist.

The most challenging at that exercise was the possibility of stacking the robot to the submerged objects (wires, columns, etc.).

…the robot also did an autonomous dive for the first time during these trials

LL: Are you happy with the results?
TD: At CUDHg Idrija we are very happy with the results! Everythin went as planned. It is now time for the UNEXMIN team to process the data from the dives and wait until we get the final material that we can share with the public that visits the mine.

LL: Were you positively/negatively surprised with something in particular?
TD: Only positively: The work within the project group and the Idrija miners was very positive and friendly. The whole group worked as one. There were no negative effects and happenings during the transport of the robot from the surface to the IX level and vice versa.

LL: What do you think was the most positive point/achievement?
TD: The autonomous dive for the first time of the project!

 

Do you have any specific questions you would like to have answered? Just write them in the comments!