The ¡VAMOS! Project (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System) is developing a novel underwater excavation system to test the technological and economic viability of the mining of inland mineral deposits in flooded open-cut mines, currently uneconomic using conventional methods.
A floating launch and recovery vessel has been built, and in July 2017, work will be completed on a remotely-operated underwater roadheader and robotic assistance vehicle.
After completion, the first of two European trials will commence.
During these trials, the road-transportable system will be tested on a range of rock-types and its technological and economic viability and socio-environmental impact will be analysed.
By demonstration of a safe, silent, clean and low-visibility system, the project hopes to encourage investment in abandoned and prospective EU mines by providing an alternative and more cost-effective excavation technique, ultimately aiming to reduce the EU’s reliance on strategically important raw materials imports.
Following a design freeze in October 2016, work is set to be completed on all system components and software by July 2017, shortly before the first European field trial in 2017 in England.
Post-trial microeconomic, environmental andstrategic foresight analyses will guide the future development of the technology vision.
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