Damen demo of ¡VAMOS! a success

Damen’s recent demonstration of ¡VAMOS! technology at the Magcobar flooded mine pit, in Silvermines, Ireland attracted eighty-five visitors including ¡VAMOS! partners, advisory board members and interested external parties, such as such as geologists and researchers and members of the local community.

Estimates indicate that the value of unexploited European mineral resources at a depth of 500-1,000 metres of around €100 billion. However, physical, economic, social, environmental and human constraints have, so far, limited their exploitation. Now the ¡VAMOS! Project, funded by the European Union´s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, seeks to address the EU’s need for (critical) raw materials, by making possible the extraction of mineral deposits from inland water-bearing areas.

The sixteen partners, from nine EU countries, involved in ¡VAMOS! have now developed an innovative system whereby a remotely operated mining vehicle is launched from a waterborne carriage.

Visitors were shown the “EVA”, automated underwater vehicle, used to assist in precise positioning, navigation and situational awareness of the mining vehicle and its surrounding environment and execute preliminary surveys of underwater mine sites. They also observed the mining vehicle being deployed and winched up from the bottom of the mine where it has been working in recent weeks at various depths up to 57m, cutting in various rock and operating conditions, and pumping the cut material to a deposit on shore as a slurry.

“The ¡VAMOS! team has successfully demonstrated their ability to use the prototype mining system in very hard rock. State-of-the-art electronics and visualisation has been used to control the operations. All this was done with great consciousness and care for safety, the environment and involvement of local stakeholders.” said Sander Steenbrink, General Manager Corporate Research and Development at Boskalis from the Netherlands, and Advisory Board member for the ¡VAMOS! Project.

Damen Dredging Equipment is one of the main industrial partners within the ¡VAMOS! Consortium and designed and built the Launch & Recovery vessel, as well as the Slurry System on board the mining vehicle. Frank Bosman, RD&I Development Manager of Damen’s Dredging product group is the Project Manager, “This project has given us the platform to develop a dual-stage slurry pump, which can be used in any mining or dredging situation where a high discharge pressure is needed, and only limited space is available. Its further features, such as a high efficiency and large ball passage, have proven themselves in the ¡VAMOS! field trials, to be of the same high quality as any other Damen dredge pump.”

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