What is Smart Exploration in nutshell?
Smart Exploration is an EU funded project under the Horizon2020 Research and Innovation Funding programme. The project answered the H2020 (SC5-13c-2016-2017) call for ‘New solutions for sustainable production of raw materials – New sensitive exploration technologies’.
Smart Exploration has been granted approximately €5.2 million and its lifetime is 36 months. The project started on 1st of December 2017 and will end in November 2020.
Who is involved in Smart Exploration? How does the project work?
27 partners with different specialisations from 9 EU countries are gathered to work together; 11 SMEs, 11 academic and research institutes, 4 mining companies, and 1 municipality. Both SMEs and academic experts are working together ensuring that research and innovation go hand-in-hand in practical and market-oriented manner.
The strength of this project is being greatly industry driven. This combination allows a smooth transition from research to innovation, innovation to development, which is important for market place and competitive growth.
The majority of the tasks require multiple partners to work together and there is connection between the project tasks to ensure continutiy. Detailed explanation on “who is who” and project structure is available on www.smartexploration.eu
What is the main objective of Smart Exploration?
The project aims at developing cost-effective, environmentally-friendly tools and methods for geophysical exploration. These seismic, electromagnetic and potential-field methods and instruments could be used separately and/or jointly for exploration in noisy, near-mine environments at 300-1500m depths, along with common Earth 3D geo-models.
What is Smart Exploration doing to reach its objective?
Smart Exploration is developing new and more sensitive environmentally sound exploration technologies and solutions.
Five prototypes are being developed and validated:
- UAV: A modular-based multi-functional and less sensitive to the system noise unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ground-based geophysical systems capable of acquiring magnetic, radio-and controlled-source electromagnetic (EM) data.
- HTEM: A deep-penetrating TEM helicopter-based system to provide higher resolution imaging and models in a faster and more cost-effective manner. It works like a big 3D-scanner of the ground using the same physical concepts as the MR-scanner at the hospitals.
- Slimhole: A slimhole modular-based digital seismic-magnetic-temperature system insensitive to EM noise to allow deeper penetration around boreholes.
- E-Vib: Broadband seismic exploration source. It is used to vibrate the ground and thus allowing to map the subsurface using echoes to create visuals, in a similar manner of ultrasound technologies.
- GPS-Time System: Mobile GPS-time transmitter for time synchronization of in-mine–surface explorations and new processing approaches for full-scale active- and passive-seismic data recording to maximize their value along with higher resolution exploration.
New and adopted seismic and EM methods are being developed for:
- 3D frequency and time-domain electromagnetic modeling.
- Thin-sheet time-domain modeling and IP responses.
- New solutions for near-surface problems and related deeper imaging improvements.
- Generation of additional data from sparse active-source seismic data with lower environmental impact.
- Scattering/diffractivity imaging, improved resolution depth imaging.
- Use of background seismicity for imaging, source-free imaging and characterization.
Where does Smart Exploration operate?
Smart Exploration has access to 6 validation sites in Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Greece (2) and Kosovo. The test sites were chosen based on existing data for validation purposes, but also for the prospects of new exploration targets.
Why does Smart Exploration (and such projects) matter?
Who does not own a mobile phone or use computer nowadays? Any clue on how the electricity reaches our houses? Even the simple needs of our modern lives require significant amount of sources such as raw materials and metals.
For the number of materials needed for our modern lives, the EU is dependent on non-EU countries. Therefore, securing the sustainable access to raw materials is of high importance for the European economy.
Smart Exploration and similar projects are initiated to address the challenges surrounding the “sustainable exploration of mineral resources” that are vital to the economy and technological advancement within the EU.
What does Smart Exploration do for social responsibility?
The Smart Exploration project has social duty to reach out the public. It is not just a project task but also our social responsibility to communicate to public audiences as researchers and entrepreneurs.
Smart Exploration gives a great importance to Civil Society Engagement and undertakes special activities during the field works in particular. Town hall meetings with the local community are being held, flyers and posters are hung up at announcement boards in the neighborhoods, local media is contacted, and local schools have visited our activities.
How does Smart Exploration reach the market? What will happen at the end of the project with the project results, findings and data?
Near the project end-time, Smart Exploration will be publishing a book with the project results and findings. The book will be available in the market. Project representatives will be on an exploitation tour reaching relevant stakeholders and end-users at various locations and events. The project book will be distributed and ways to bring the solutions to market will be sought.
Several e-lecturers and webinar sessions will be organized in order to reach the audiences when not possible to travel. These online sessions will be recorded and made available to public through project’s website and EAGE’s LearningGeoscience.org learning platform.
The project will conclude with a final conference in Brussels (November 2020), which will be open to the public. This conference will be the ultimate occasion where all project results and findings will be shared with all the stakeholders. Conference papers will be made publicly available on project’s website and EAGE’s EarthDoc database.
Data will become open access as soon as the tasks are completed and when businesses are protected. Links and information how to obtain them will be provided at later stage of the project.
It is a strong ambition of the project partners to bring the prototypes and methodologies developed within the project to the market and to make them widely available for use.
Are there any health or environmental risks involved during the Smart Exploration’s activities?
Nothing in particular. Nevertheless potential risks are studied rigorously and measures taken to mitigate any potential concerns. Using current technologies, Smart Exploration is developing environmentally-friendly instruments for non-invasive exploration activities. All the prototypes being developed should meet EU standards and if required safety and environmental risks are carefully studied and ways to mitigate them provided.
Smart Exploration also has Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) procedures in place. We aim for the “zero
harm to people”, “zero harm to the environment” and “no work is important if cannot be done safely” rule.
The seismic methods that are being used during field activities do not pose any risk to the public or environment
How to get involved with Smart Exploration?
Check our website and follow our social media channels for the project outcomes and achievements.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for collaboration.
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Smart Exploration has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.775971