Horizon 2020 programme to develop Underwater Mining Systems

As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, a new 42 month
  Research & Development Project, has been launched to help provide an opportunity to tap into the wealth of unexploited European mineral resources. The estimated cost of the Project is approximately 12.6 million €.

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 minesites. 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 intergrated solution for efficient real-time monitoring of the parameters associated with potential environmental impacts.

Under the coordination of BMT Group Ltd 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, etc.

Damen Dredging Equipment designs and builds a wide range of dredging equipment. As a member of the Damen Shipyards Group, the company has a large range of standard dredgers and dredging related components. The Research and Development department of the company plays a major role in the project. Laboratory facilities include: soil investigation laboratory, slurry pumping test circuit, overflow and plume testing tank, and a hyperbaric test chamber.

Damen Dredging Equipment will lead the system specification and architecture phase where the specifications and integration of the mining vehicle prototype and the launch and recovery system will be defined. Furthermore the company will be responsible for the design and manufacturing of components that are in breaking up the rock, form the slurry, transfer power and control the flow of the slurry. Another task is to manufacture the vessel from which the mining machine will be deployed. In the testing phase of the project we will thoroughly log and evaluate the performance of all slurry related components. Damen Dredging Equipment will also be the Quality Manager of the project.




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