The underground environment is the subject of a major new £4 million project launched to create a world-leading cluster of research-intensive digital businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
The pioneering project, called Deep Digital Cornwall, led by the Camborne School of Mines (CSM) with the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Exeter, will conduct research and champion innovation with 40 of the region’s SMEs.
With grant funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the project benefits from three delivery partners: Cornish Lithium, Cornwall Resources Limited (CRL) and the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SWCoESA).
Cornish Lithium, a British miner eager to lead the development of an industry for the battery metal in the UK, has begun the second drilling campaign at its Trelavour hard rock lithium project near the town of St Austell, in Cornwall, England.
A new physical research hub will be created on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, offering a state-of-the-art 3D modelling and visualisation suite with researchers, innovators and business development specialists.
“The underground is a much neglected but essential environment. It is the source of all of our metals and minerals, shapes our landscapes, provides water, heat and cooling, and controls the composition of soils,” the University of Exeter said in a media release.
Deep Digital Cornwall will carry out research into digital technologies and, in partnership with regional SMEs, develop new digital products, processes and services to enhance SME offerings to sectors including mining, geothermal, civil engineering, surveying and water resources, heritage, and planning.
With a rich mining heritage and a renewed national interest in georesources, Deep Digital Cornwall will leverage the region’s unique research skills, collaborations and SME network, to boost regional economic growth, the University said.
CRL will provide Redmoor as a field site for acquisition of new geochemistry and geophysical data, which will then be provided to the Deep Digital Cornwall data centre. Cornish Lithium brings expertise in new data collection, digitising data, and identifying and developing opportunities for the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. SWCoESA will help SMEs develop and commercialise Space technologies and beneficial satellite applications.
“The management of mineral resources is essential to ensure sustainable growth, with resource efficiency at its heart,” Dr Matt Eyre, Senior Lecturer in Mining Engineering/Intelligent Mining at Camborne School of Mines said.
“The DDC project is an exciting development to push the boundaries of digital data capture and interpretation to optimise assets. The outputs of the project can have wide reaching effects in an ever more technologically focused digital world.”
“Deep Digital Cornwall is a fantastic opportunity to develop our understanding of what lies beneath our feet in Cornwall,” Lucy Crane, Cornish Lithium senior geologist said. “Cornwall has an amazing mining heritage, but this project will bring Cornwall’s relationship with the subsurface right into the 21st century.”