The EU has announced the launch of ROBOMINERS project, which improves access to European raw materials by developing a modular and reconfigurable robot-miner for mineral deposits that are small and difficult to acquire.
The 48-month project is funded as part of the EU’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement no. 820971). The programme aims to create a bio-inspired robot capable of mining underground mineral deposits.
ROBOMINERS is led by the Centre for Automation and Robotics (CAR) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
Implemented by a consortium of 14 partners from 11 European countries, the project will consist of geo-scientific SMEs and academics covering both mining and robotics. It will also include partners from non-governmental and government organisations.
Within the project period, the consortium aims to construct a fully functional modular robot miner prototype following a bio-inspired design, which can operate, navigate and perform selective mining in a flooded underground environment.
Project members will design a mining ecosystem of expected future upstream/downstream raw materials processes through simulations, modelling and virtual prototyping approaches.
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The consortium will particularly validate all key functions of the robot-miner to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4.
With a network of more than 45,000 geoscientists across Europe, the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) will lead the dissemination and communication efforts within ROBOMINERS.
According to the EU, some of the national association members of EFG will also participate as Linked Third Parties in the project, supporting among others the creation of a European database of potentially suitable locations for the deployment of the new technology.