Horizon 2020 funds revolutionary underwater mining system
As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, a new 42-month research and development project has been launched to help provide an opportunity to tap into the wealth of unexploited European mineral resources. The estimated cost of the project is approximately €12.6m.
The aim of the ‘¡VAMOS!’ (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System) project is to design and build a robotic, underwater mining prototype with associated launch and recovery equipment, which will be used to perform field tests at four EU mine sites. Three of these are inland, inactive submerged mineral deposits and the other is offshore. Building on successful deep-sea excavation techniques, this prototype will provide a safer and cleaner option for extracting currently unreachable and/or uneconomic mineral deposits.
The Horizon 2020-funded project will also look to enhance presently available underwater sensing, spatial awareness, navigational and positioning technology, as well as providing an integrated solution for efficient real-time monitoring of the parameters associated with potential environmental impacts.
Under the co-ordination of BMT Group Ltd and the Technical management of Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd, a consortium of 17 project partners from nine EU countries will collaborate. As well as co-ordinating the ¡VAMOS! project, BMT will create an advanced situation awareness system and will provide 3D visualisation of the mining environment in order to support the operator in supervising the mining application. This includes both the mining system prototype and the environmental impacts monitor.
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