As part of Europe’s Horizon 2020 business and research stimulation program, a new 42-month-long project is now under way to provide an opportunity to tap into unexploited—and currently inaccessible—submerged mineral resources. The estimated cost of the project is approximately €12.6 mlllion.
Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.
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.
VAMOS will also look to enhance currently 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 coordination of BMT Group and the technical management of Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd, a consortium of 17 project partners from nine EU countries will collaborate, including: Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd; Damen Shipyards Group; Instituto de Engenharia Sistemas e Computadores; Fugro EMU Limited; Zentrum für Telematik e.V.; Montanuniversität Leoben; Minerália, Lda; Marine Minerals Ltd; Empresa de Desenvolvimento Mineiro SA; Sandvik Mining and Construction GmbH; Geological Survey of Slovenia; La Palma Research Center for Future Studies; European Federation of Geologists; Trelleborg Ede BV; Federalni zavod za Geologijo and Fondacija za obnovu I razvoj regije Vareš.