In Europe, it is estimated that there are around 30,000 closed mine sites. Many of these still may have considerable amounts of essential raw materials. However, most 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, using non-contact and non-damaging methods for exploration and 3D mine mapping of flooded and deep mines, otherwise inaccessible, in Europe. UNEXMIN’s pioneer technique can open new exploration scenarios for European abandoned mines.