Geophysical imaging development in tunnels for deep mining

Name: Giorgia Stasi

Supervisor: Prof. Frédéric Nguyen (ULiège)

Co-supervisors: Prof. Giorgio Cassiani (UNIPD)

                            Dr. Yves Vanbrabant (RBINS – Geological Survey of Belgium)

Other committee members: Prof. Eric Pirard (ULiège)

Research Project: ROBOMINERS

Institutional partners: UPM (coordinator), RBINS, LPRC, GEOM, KUTEC, RCI, UNIM, MUL, TALL, TUT, ASSIM, EFG, GeoZS, IGSMIE.

Funding: Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement nº 820971.

Project total cost/ EU contribution : 7,4 M€

Duration: 2019-2023


ROBOMINERS is a new project funded under the European Union’s Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement n°820971) which aims at creating a bio-inspired robot capable of mining underground mineral deposits. The project has been set up with the long-term strategic objective to facilitate EU access to mineral raw materials - including also those that are considered as strategic or critical for the energy transition - from domestic resources, and decreasing thus the European import dependency. ROBOMINERS’ innovative approach combines the creation of a new mining ecosystem with novel ideas from other sectors, in particular with the inclusion of disruptive concepts from robotics. The use of the robot miner will especially be relevant for mineral deposits that are small or difficult to access. This covers both abandoned, nowadays flooded mines, that are not accessible anymore for conventional mining techniques, or places that have formerly been explored but whose exploitation was considered as uneconomic due to the small size of the deposits or the difficulty to access them.

In this framework, the PhD aims at developing and testing the geophysical imaging technology required for robotics use in deep mining. The research includes testing of ERT/IP protocols and arrays for the considered geological and robotic set-ups, inclusion of the technology on the prototype robot and field demonstrations.

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