A multidisciplinary consortium made of partners from Norway, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and the Netherlands has been granted €12.3 million by Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation, to develop an innovative and holistic mine management system that aims to digitize and modernize the industry.
The ultimate goal behind the new system is to reduce Europe’s dependence on imported minerals and metals used to produce everything from mobile phones, to renewable energy, and modern defence equipment.
The project’s name is DINAMINE, which stands for “Digital and Innovative Mine of the future.” Its main focus will be on the small and medium-sized mines that account for more than half of the value added in Europe.
Among the technologies to be developed and demonstrated is a smart database system for real-time integration of various types of information such as geological and geophysical data, mineral resources, geomechanics, mineral processing data, tailings and environmental data. The data system will be utilized in combination with the economical and practical factors for holistic mine planning, monitoring, and managing.
The companies involved in the consortium also plan to create a machine vision-based technology for improving rock engineering-related activities such as rock mass mapping, optimizing rock blasting, and suggesting relevant stabilizing measures. This will be achieved by incorporating the technology in a semi-autonomous jumbo drill.
Finally, a real-time geomechanical monitoring technology for underground openings and open pits is also expected to be developed.
All the new systems and solutions will be tested at two demonstration sites in Norway and Portugal, under the auspices of Norwegian Skaland Graphite and Portuguese Felmica Minerais Industriais, respectively. The test sites have been selected to be representative of European regions, raw materials, and value chains.
In addition to these two firms, other consortium members are the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, which is heading the 3.5-year project; fellow Norwegian companies and organizations AMV AS, SINTEF Nord AS, SINTEF AS and SINTEF Helgeland AS; Spain’s Worldsensing SL, Slovenia’s National Institute of Chemistry, Italy’s Ciaotech Srl and the Netherlands’ SPECTRAL Industries BV.