Robots for exploring flooded underground mines are being developed - UNEXMIN being one. A prototype has been developed to survey and to analyse flooded mines. A mine might have been abandoned years ago because grades and or prices were too low. The prices might be right to day, or for stratigic reasons, miners may want to reopen the mine. Sending down UNEXMIN will be cheaper than drilling to determine what mineral and quantities are down there. The data retreived can be used to plan a drilling campaign.
UNEXMIN will be able to survey the mine. Post processing will allow identification of minerals.
UNEXMIN is an EU Horizon 2020 project.
A study looking at autonomous Robots for mining is being carried out. The robots could use some of the techniques that creatures on earth employ to tunnel underground. The robots will mine in such a way such that there is a much less of an environmental impact due to mining operations. Mineral deposites will be found deeper below ground than present. (Some diamond kimberlite pipe deposits extend all the way down to the Earths mantel, Debeers Venetia mine.) Imagine a robot that could sniff out a gram of gold.
Robominers is an EU Horizon 2020 project.