Successful Demonstration of ¡VAMOS! Underwater Mining Technology in UK
.On the 24th of October, the ¡VAMOS! consortium, Advisory Board Members, and interested external parties were invited for a live demonstration of the ¡VAMOS! technology at the Imerys Minerals Ltd. test site in Lee Moor, Devon, UK. The 29 visitors were divided up in small groups and guided around the premises by representatives of SMD Ltd., Damen Dredging Equipment and INESC TEC, who have been working on the various project components.
Visitors were provided with PPE and safety instructions before they were taken by boat to the Launch and Recovery Vessel, where they were able to inspect the Mining Vehicle and witnessed the deployment and recovery of the vehicle.
Back on shore, the visitors were given an overview of the functionality of ‘EVA’ – the Exploration VAMOS AUV, an automated underwater vehicle that is being used to assist in precise positioning, navigation and situational awareness of the Mining Vehicle and that can execute preliminary surveys of underwater mine sites.
In the Control Unit and Data Centre, the visitors were shown the impressive virtual reality HMI, where all machinery is controlled and where real-time data on the operations is collected. Real-time data for grade control and mineralogical properties is collected by a LIBS – Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer, which was demonstrated and is being perfected for a wide range of commonly mined minerals.
During the day, ¡VAMOS! demonstrated a highly successful integration of different systems to be applied in underwater mining. The project team was optimistic about continuing the testing until the end of the week to advance even further towards the projects targets.
This was supported by the Advisory Board: “The consortium should be extremely proud of their efforts. What they have managed to achieve with the ¡VAMOS! System and its integration of new technologies is very impressive”, said Dr. Bramley Murton from UK’s National Oceanography Centre.
Next week the system will be demobilised and prepared for transport to the second test site in Bosnia and Herzegovina in spring 2018.
About Damen Shipyards Group
Damen Shipyards Group operates 33 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 6,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 180 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damen is able to guarantee consistent quality.
Damen’s focus on standardization, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale values and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.
Damen offers a wide range of products, including tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and superyachts.
For nearly all vessel types Damen offers a broad range of services, including maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and the transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. Damen also offers a variety of marine components, such as nozzles, rudders, anchors, anchor chains and steel works.
Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) has a worldwide network of sixteen repair and conversion yards of which twelve are located in North West Europe. Facilities at the yards include more than 50 floating and (covered) drydocks, the largest of which is 420 x 90 metres, as well as slopes, ship lifts and indoor halls. Projects range from the smallest simple repairs through Class’ maintenance to complex refits and the complete conversion of large offshore structures. DSC completes around 1,350 repair and maintenance jobs annually, both at yards as well as in ports and during voyage. For more information, please see www.damen.com.
Estimates indicate that the value of unexploited European mineral resources at a depth of 500-1,000 meters is ca €100 billion, however, a number of physical, economic, social, environmental and human constraints have as yet limited their exploitation. ¡VAMOS! will provide a new Safe, Clean and Low Visibility Mining Technique and will prove its Economic Viability for extracting currently unreachable mineral deposits, thus encouraging investment and helping to put the EU back on a level playing field in terms of access to strategically important minerals. Deriving from successful deep-sea mining techniques, the ¡VAMOS! mining solution aspires to lead to: Re-opening abandoned mines; Extensions of opencut mines which are limited by stripping ratio, hydrological or geotechnical problems; and opening of new mines in the EU. ¡VAMOS! will design and manufacture innovative automated excavation equipment and environmental impact monitoring tools that will be used to perform field tests in four mine sites across Europe with a range of rock hardness and pit morphology. ¡VAMOS! will:
- Develop a prototype underwater, remotely controlled, mining machine with associated launch and recovery equipment
- Enhance currently available underwater sensing, spatial awareness, navigational and positioning technology
- Provide an integrated solution for efficient Real-Time monitoring of Environmental Impact
- Conduct field trials with the prototype equipment in abandoned and inactive mine sites with a range of rock types and at a range of submerged depths
- Evaluate the productivity and cost of operation to enable mine-ability and economic reassessment of the EU’s mineral resources
- Maximize impact and enable the Market Up-Take of the proposed solutions by defining and overcoming the practicalities of the concept, proving the operational feasibility and the economic viability
- Contribute to the social acceptance of the new extraction technique via public demonstration in EU regions
More information is available at http://vamos-project.eu/.
This project has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 642477.
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