With Europe’s more accessible mineral deposits largely depleted, deeper-lying resources remain submerged in mines abandoned after flooding or in unmined deposits below the water table. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the €12.6 million (US$13.3 million) ¡VAMOS! project aims to design and build a robotic, underwater mining prototype for field tests at four inactive submerged mineral deposits at two locations across Europe. The mining technique involves remote operation of the underwater mining equipment from an offshore control station without affecting the local groundwater level.
Trelleborg will develop a 200m riser hose connecting the underwater mining vehicle to the support vessel on the surface. The hose will have an internal diameter of 200mm and a maximum working pressure of 15bar. In addition, Trelleborg will also develop a 236m floating slurry hose that conveys the excavated slurry to the shoreline for dewatering. Designed to float at the surface in fully loaded condition, the hose will have an internal diameter of 150mm and a maximum working pressure of 15bar.
Jacco Vonk, marketing & business development manager for Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, said: “It is widely acknowledged that the value of unexploited European mineral resources at a depth of 500m to 1,000m is approximately €100 billion. Building on successful deep-sea excavation techniques, ¡VAMOS! will contribute to ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy.”
For more information about ¡VAMOS!, visit www.vamos-project.eu.