Unexmin - Underwater explorer of flooded mines

Numerous European mines are currently closed and flooded with water, making it impossible to gather geological and other information, which may have been lost over the centuries. Unfortunately, re-exploring abandoned flooded mines using conventional methods is very expensive, and using remotely operated machines is impossible, mainly due to the complex network of tunnels and various obstacles within the mines.

Within the framework of the UNEXMIN project, a new technology will be developed that will enable the exploration of submerged mines in a completely new way, using autonomous robotic submarines. The objectives of the project are as follows:

  • develop and construct a robotic explorer (UX-1) for autonomous 3D mapping of submerged mines,
  • develop a multi-purpose robotic platform that enables collaboration among different UX-1 units,
  • demonstrate the operation of this unit in suitable pilot areas.
  • The new approaches employed in the UNEXMIN project will allow for the acquisition of valuable information about the geometry of mines, as well as various geological data for the creation or enhancement of existing 3D models of deposits. In case there is an interest in reopening the mines in the future, this system will reduce the need for expensive surface drilling..

UNEXMIN partners are developing a new system for the automatic exploration of abandoned water-filled mines.

The system's concept is based on a group of robots that operate and communicate with each other in real-time. Each robot will have its set of sensors. This approach enables the reduction in their size and the exploration of larger and more complex submerged mines with larger groups of robots.

Based on this newly developed technology, it will be possible to survey and map abandoned and submerged mines, thus re-evaluating the accessible reserves of mineral resources that Europe still possesses. The main advantage of this method over conventional ones is the significantly lower costs of re-exploration. Additionally, this technology will contribute to the documentation and preservation of our mining heritage.

UNEXMIN project partners:

  • University of Miskolc, Madžarska
  • Geological Survey of Slovenia, Slovenija
  • Tampere University of Technology, Department of Mechanical, Engineering and Industrial Systems, Finska
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Centre for Automation and Robotics, Spain
  • La Palma Research S.L., Španija
  • INESC TEC – Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science, Portugalska
  • Resources Computing International Ltd, Velika Britanija
  • Geoplano, Portugalska
  • Ecton Mine Educational Trust, Velika Britanija
  • European Federation of Geologists, Francija
  • Geo-Montan, Madžarska
  • Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro, Portugalska
  • Idrija Mercury Heritage Management Centre, Slovenija

The project has received funding from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under contract number 690008.

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