As one of 17 partners spanning nine EU countries, Trelleborg’s engineered products operation has supplied specialty mining hoses to ¡VAMOS! (Viable Alternative Mine Operating System), a 42-month research and development project designed to foster the exploitation and rehabilitation of under exploited and abandoned European deposits of mineral resources.
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 program, the €126 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 revolutionary 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 200 m riser hose connecting the underwater mining vehicle to the support vessel on the surface. The hose will have an internal diameter of 200 mm and a maximum working pressure of 15 bar. In addition, Trelleborg will also develop a 236 m 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 150 mm and a maximum working pressure of 15 bar.
Jacco Vonk, Marketing & Business Development Manager for Trelleborg’s engineered products operation, says: “It is widely acknowledged that the value of unexploited European mineral resources at a depth of 500 to 1,000 m 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.
“To be involved in a ground-breaking project like ¡VAMOS! is testament not only to our unrivalled technical expertise, but our undisputed reputation as a world leader in the design and manufacture of specialty mining hoses for materials handling for abrasion resistance, slurry, water and chemical applications.”