The 2020 edition of the Mineral Exploration Symposium was a two-day virtual event (17-18 September) organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Despite the fact that it was an online event, it was still a great opportunity for many researchers and the mining community to present and discuss the current state of projects and initiatives that intend to address a continuous supply of critical raw materials to the EU.

The first day was a clustering event, which started with an introductory section lead by members of the European Commission. Marcin Sadowski – EASME – opened the event with welcome words and remarks. After that, Gerardo Herrera – DG Grow – presented an introduction to the EU challenges on mineral exploration and its importance for the society, in which the UNEXMIN project – predecessor of UNEXUP – was mentioned among the past EU-funded projects (see figure). Finally, the last words of this section were from Jonas Hedberg – EASME – regarding “Mineral exploration in the Horizon programme”.

The following sessions consisted of interesting presentations about various themes, each followed by an interactive Q&A session.
• Session 1: Societal challenge 5 – Raw Materials
• Session 2: ERA-NET Cofund on Raw Materials (ERA-MIN 2)
• Session 3: European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Raw Materials
• Session 4: European Geological Surveys Research Area (GeoERA) – Raw Materials
In this opportunity, the UNEXUP project was presented under Session 3 – European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Raw Materials. The presentation covered overall details about the project, its background, relationship with H2020 UNEXMIN, UX line of robots, field trials, and the commercialization of the robotic technology. The talk raised interest from participants of the event, who asked questions about the current state of the market analysis, future customers’ perception about the project, as well as how UNEXUP will contribute to the reassessment and reopening of abandoned mines in the EU.

The wrap-up section was led by Véronique Woulé Ebongué – EASME, European Commission – who provided an overview of the presented projects and fruitful discussions of the first day of the Mineral Exploration Symposium 2020 virtual event, which counted with a maximum number of 200 worldwide attendees.

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