Alternative EU mining project reaches milestone

¡VAMOS! aims at opening and rehabilitating underexploited European mineral deposits

¡VAMOS! is a 42-month research and development project aimed at opening and rehabilitating underexploited European mineral deposits, using a safe, clean and low-visibility method. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, it is developing novel technology – a remotely operated mining vehicle launched from a waterborne carriage – for the extraction of mineral deposits from flooded open pit mines. The underwater mining equipment can then be operated without any adverse effects on groundwater levels.
Over the past months, the system architecture of the equipment for ¡VAMOS! has been further developed into designs for the equipment prototypes. The designs, including the working method of the system, have been evaluated by external experts who sit on the project's advisory board.
“We’ve had only minor changes in our designs thus far, and to ensure proper interfacing later we’re using an integration register during further design,” said the project’s technical manager, Stef Kapusniak from UK-based Soil Machine Dynamics.
The technical partners of the consortium will now start procurement and construction. The build phase should be completed by the end of this year, after which each component will undergo functional testing before assembly. Due to the lead times of certain parts, some components are being built already. The cutter boom and chassis of the mining vehicle is being constructed by Austria's Sandvik Group. The high-pressure slurry pump is ready for performance testing at Damen Dredging Equipment in Nijkerk, the Netherlands.
Damen Dredging Equipment, the dredging tools specialist within the Netherlands-headquartered Damen Shipyards Group, is responsible for developing and supplying the slurry circuitry components and the launch and recovery system for the mining vehicle. For the launch and recovery vessel, Damen’s standard modular pontoons were chosen because of their ease of road transportation to remote areas and their sturdy, standardised design, the company says. The eleven pontoons will be delivered from stock, some of which will be adapted to the special requirements of the ¡VAMOS! project.
Meanwhile the activities within other work packages of the project are in full swing, and some of the corresponding deliverables are completed. Background regulatory checks from a mining and environmental perspective across Europe have been completed. A “zero-state” environmental and geo-hazard identification criteria template has been prepared, and the ethics requirements as imposed by the EU have been checked.
“Progress is on schedule, and we're looking forward to reporting shortly on the state of play to the H2020 commission,” remarked Jenny Rainbird from London-based BMT Group Ltd, which is coordinating the project.

After 18 months, the ¡VAMOS! (Viable Alternative Mining Operating System) consortium has reached the “design freeze” stage of the prototypes to be built, reports Damen Dredging Equipment, one of the 17 project partners from nine European Union (EU) countries.

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